TAMPA, Fla. -- From restaurant bingo to free deliveries, Tampa Bay businesses have to get creative in order to stay afloat during this pandemic.
“It’s a big hit. we’ve been closed for the last two weeks,” said Kirby Lavallee.
Lavallee and his wife own The Cake Girl bakery on North Dale Mabry. They moved to that location a few months ago. They are determined to make it through this pandemic and keep their staff employed.
They’ve decided not to have the bakery open all week. A lot of their sales are now made online. And they’ve come up with a cool Easter contest to bring in more revenue, entertain kids, and help out local food pantries, like The Community Pantry.
“We’re just super happy to have them because we’re doing food drives, and people are clearing out their pantries,” said community pantry director, Monica Wilson.
The contest is called “Tampa’s sweetest Cupcake design."
They’ve made hundreds of plain cupcakes, and put a kit together with dozens of cupcake toppings. Families can go online to register and pay for their kits. You are asked to bring non-perishable food to donate when you pick up the kits.
The food is going to the The Community Pantry. It is dangerously close to running out of food, due to the coronavirus. Director Monica Wilson says they’re now feeding close to 900 families a month, the majority of them new families.
“It’s really impacting a lot of families,” she said. “We’ve have moms in the car saying 'I don’t know what to do. I’ve never done this before.'”
Just about every nonprofit organization across Tampa Bay is the same situation, even Feeding Tampa Bay. According to a spokesperson, the need is up 40%. Donations are down 65%.
Feeding Tampa Bay serves 10 counties. Most of the local nonprofits get the bulk of their food from them. Some organizations are bracing for the possibility of running out of food if this pandemic lasts through the summer.
“The need is huge,” Wilson said. “Thankfully Feeding Tampa Bay has waived fees for partner organizations, like ours.”
They’re using that money to buy what they can from places like Amazon. Wilson said that’s why businesses like The Cake Girl ”are so important.”
More than 100 families have registered for the contest, and plan to help with donations.
The first batch of cupcakes were picked up Monday. The Cake Girl will have another pick-up and donation day at their bakery this Thursday. Families can still have time to register for the contest. You can visit the website and register here.
“We are all about helping our community and this is a fun way to get the kids involved,” said Lavallee.