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Feeding Tampa Bay to ask Hillsborough County Commissioners for funding for new facility

Feeding Tampa Bay warehouse.
Posted at 6:37 AM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 07:59:31-05

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Hillsborough County Commissioners are set to approve funding for a new project for Feeding Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

The group is looking to build a new facility.

“Our objective both pre and post-pandemic is to bring more resources to the community,” said Thomas Mantz, President and CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay.

There was so much need in our community before the pandemic and now even more families are struggling with food insecurity.

“Even today we think about the economy that we see affecting families across Tampa Bay, our objective is to make sure we can provide more resources,” said Mantz.

That’s why Feeding Tampa Bay is looking to expand by building another facility.

“We’ve asked Hillsborough County to partner with us on that, given that we serve a lot of the same constituents and have a lot of common outcomes and objectives,” said Mantz.

The group is asking for $5 million from Hillsborough County to fund a portion of the project. That money would come from American Rescue Plan funds.

Feeding Tampa Bay serves families in 10 counties and they’re seeking contributions from every county they serve, along with using money from public and private sources to make the new facility happen.

The new regional facility will expand food service capacity and will provide additional job training opportunities for people experiencing food challenges caused by the pandemic and beyond.

“Our objective is to build a transformative facility, right? One that allows us to move our services further considerably, both providing meals and providing resources. It also envisions a collaborative model where the community comes together,” said Mantz.

They’re currently in the preparation stage. The group has already secured the land they need, now they’re working to make sure they can build on it. Part of that includes securing the rest of their funding.

As far as a timeline for construction goes, Feeding Tampa Bay is in the middle of nailing down all of those details.

“We’ll know a little bit more about that as we move closer to this summer. So because of the way the county’s calendar works, they’re considering the matter this week. But we still have a few more details to work out before we really are fully kind of ready to share our plans with the public,” said Mantz.

If funding is approved on Wednesday, the next steps include getting more information and negotiating an agreement between the county and Feeding Tampa Bay.

There would be another meeting when formal construction plans are available.

Wednesday’s meeting begins at 9 a.m.