TAMPA, Fla. — Matt Spence and Karen Diaz-Serrano are bagging up sweet potatoes and dreaming of a hunger-free future.
They are in the spacious warehouse of Feeding Tampa Bay, which just joined forces with the University of South Florida to fight hunger in the Tampa Bay area.
Spence is the chief programs officer with Feeding Tampa Bay, which serves more than 700,000 people in ten counties.
Diaz-Serrano works at Feeding Tampa Bay and is a doctorate student at USF.
“Hunger doesn’t look a specific way,” Diaz-Serrano says. “Anyone can be hungry, which is something we constantly talk about.”
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The faces and facets of hunger will be studied at the new Center for the Advancement of Food Security and Health Communities.
USF’s studies “will let us know that what we’re doing is working,” says Spence. “That the strategies we’re implementing are making a difference in people’s lives.”
The big goal here is for the Tampa Bay area to be free of hunger in the next five years.
“That doesn’t mean no one will ever be in hungry in Tampa Bay,” Spence says. “It just means that by 2025, anyone who needs a meal in Tampa Bay will know where to find one.”