TAMPA, Fla. — Feeding Tampa Bay and BayCare are working hand in hand to fill the gap when it comes to access to food and health resources through a new space meant to help meet the needs of the community.
“The folks that we typically serve don’t always have a pathway to good medical care. We’re creating a pathway for them,” said Thomas Mantz, Feeding Tampa Bay’s President and CEO.
Feeding Tampa Bay and BayCare are expanding their partnership through a newly opened Health Education Center, tucked right inside Feeding Tampa Bay’s warehouse.
“Folks can come in our Publix community market. People come in and shop for the groceries they need,” said Mantz. “They can walk next door and find a health services partner that can help them navigate different challenges or issues or concerns they’re having with their health.”
The center will offer health education materials, a private area for personal consultations, and a station for self-monitoring your general health.
“People can go into what we call a Higi station. They can get their blood pressure taken, heart rate, weight,” said Tommy Inzina, BayCare’s CEO. “We’re also going to schedule classes and other screenings. We’re going to be doing diabetes screenings, heart screenings, and some weight loss education for people.”
Resources like prevention education and on-site screening will be available during warehouse open hours.
Community leaders recognize the need for access to resources and healthy food, now finding another way to address the community’s health as a whole.
“Food is a symptom. We know when someone needs food, there are other things that are happening inside their house that we can help with, and what we do is provide the pathway between coming into a meal for us and walking next door to a clinic,” said Mantz.