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Feeding Tampa Bay opens free market for federal employees

Posted at 2:17 PM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-28 19:21:00-05

TAMPA, Fla. — The government shutdown is over, but the struggle for thousands of federal employees isn't.

Feeding Tampa Bay has decided to open its Winn Dixie Charity Market to employees and their families.

"There's a lot of good healthy items that families want and need," said Thomas Mantz, the executive director.

The market is normally open to representatives from food pantries across the Tampa Bay area. Now, due to the shutdown, it'll be open every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

"Families can come in and shop just as they would at any other grocery store in their community," said Mantz. "The bonus here is that everything is free."

Feeding Tampa Bay provides food to 650,000 people a day. That number has gone up since the shutdown. Mantz said they've opened several temporary food pantries between Tampa and St. Pete, a mobile food pantry, and now the market.

"Everybody needs a healthy and nutritious meal on their table," Mantz said. "Our job is to make sure that happens no matter the circumstances."

Mantz is confident they'll be able to help everyone in need, even if there's another shutdown on the 15th. But, he admits it'll be tough.

"If we go on for a long period of time it'll be devastating on our community."

Feeding Tampa Bay is also in need of volunteers. If you are interested in helping out click this link.

A list of services offered to federal employees:

The Winn Dixie Charity Market
Feeding Tampa Bay -
4702 Transport Dr,
Tampa, FL 33605
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Tampa International Airport
New Location - beginning 1/26/19
4662 Air Cargo Road, Suite 1500
Tampa, FL 33622
Distribution Days
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Mobile Pantry
Highpoint YMCA
5345 Laurel Pl
Clearwater, FL 33760
Monday's - beginning 1/28/19 until further notice
Distribution: 4:00-6:00 PM