PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — More people than ever in Tampa Bay are unsure where they’ll get their next meal. The pandemic is pushing our local hungry crisis to another level, according to leaders at Feeding Tampa Bay.
That’s what hunger experts say makes a new Feeding Pinellas County Empowerment Center, fully opening in Lealman the week of November 1, crucial.
In Tampa Bay, one in four kids and one in six adults right go hungry, according to Feeding Tampa Bay.
“I grew up here in Pinellas County. This is my home, and these are my neighbors and if the pandemic did anything for us, it showed us how close hunger was to everyone,” Matt Spence, Feeding Tampa Bay’s Chief Programs Officer explained.
The new Feeding Pinellas Center is at Northwest Presbyterian Church in Lealman.
Starting November 1, they will serve 5 free hot meals a week Monday through Friday from 5:30-6:30 PM.
There’s also a full food pantry at Feeding Pinellas that will be open to the public two days a week. It’s the latest of 50 Feeding Tampa Bay pantries the non-profit operates across the bay area.
Feeding Tampa Bay is expected to serve 86 million meals this year alone, with 21.6 million of those in Pinellas County.
They’re also focused on ways to lift people out of poverty with free education, culinary and warehouse, and logistics training programs.
“We look at it in 3 areas. Food for today that’s the hot meal we will serve you, food for tomorrow the bag of groceries to serve your family all week, and food for a lifetime how do we change your financial circumstances so that you are no longer in need?” Spence explained.
Feeding Tampa Bay’s goal is to eventually eliminate hunger altogether in Tampa Bay.
The non-profit is also partnering with hospitals, schools, and other community organizations to identify and assist families in need.
You can read more about Feeding Tampa Bay and the programs they offer here: https://feedingtampabay.org/