TAMPA, Fla. — Getting fresh produce just got a little easier, and a lot cheaper for low income families in the Tampa Bay area.
With help from the Florida Blue Foundation and Trinity Cafe, Feeding Tampa Bay just started a new free produce pantry in Tampa.
“This really is a blessing,” said on visitor as she picked out a watermelon to take home.
According to Feeding Tampa Bay, the organizations will receive about 6,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables every weekend for the next two years.
"Our goal is to make sure that people have access to fresh produce," said Matt Spence, the chief program officer at Feeding Tampa Bay.
Organization leaders anticipate providing produce for more than 10,000 families in just the first year of the new program, he said.
“This is the stuff that’s going to keep [people] healthy. It’s the more expensive stuff in the grocery store and harder to keep at your house.”
For people such as Rachel Jenkins, the new pantry is a blessing.
“I’m feeling thankful that something like this has been provided to the community,” Jenkins said. “Without it you never know how many of us will not be able to have something like this for our families and kids.”
According to the United Way, 3.5 million households in Florida are living paycheck to paycheck. Adults in some families are working one, sometimes two jobs and still struggle to buy groceries.
Feeding Tampa Bay’s goal is to end hunger in the community. Spence said the new produce pantry is just one way they plan to reach that goal.
The new produce pantry will be outside of Trinity Cafe 2 on East Busch Boulevard. It will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. every Saturday.