The shelves at many Tampa Bay area food banks are running low. Summer is typically the slowest time for donations. That's why two friends are teaming up to help so many families who rely on one local food bank.
Jill Seguine is a struggling single mom. So these days, she goes grocery shopping at a food bank in Spring Hill.
"I really thank god I have somewhere I can go and get some food," said Seguine.
Jill's son just turned 18, so they lost Medicaid and food stamp benefits. She's only been able to find part-time work and was recently laid off. So the food bank is a lifeline.
"It means a lot. Because otherwise, me and my son wouldn't have anything," Seguine said.
But helping 150 families like hers every week takes a lot of effort. The food pantry at First United Methodist Church is lucky to have support from Feeding America, and two large retailers. It also gets help from church members.
"We enjoy giving back, and it's sort of like passing things forward. I enjoy helping other people," said Peter Maggore, food bank volunteer.
But in the summer months, and as kids head back to school, the supply tends to dwindle a bit. And the pantry is always glad when the community can help out, donating some of the most commonly needed basic items.
"We try to get cereal. We try to get peanut butter. We try to give jelly. We try to give the most of everything we can," said Maggore.
Easy snacks kids can make, like mac 'n cheese, are also popular. Nick Giancaspro's mother-in-law is one of the many dedicated volunteers at the church's food pantry. Along with a friend, he was inspired to help feed the need..
"We've just been wanting to get together and just do something for the community. It doesn't take much," Giancaspro said.
So together, they've organized a "Kan Jam" tournament, coupling the backyard game similar to corn hole with a canned good drive to benefit the food pantry.
"It's just starting to catch on and everybody's getting pretty excited," said Giancaspro.
Now they hope the excitement will continue to spread so families like Jill Seguine's can continue to count on this pantry.
If you'd like to learn more about the Kan Jam fundraiser August 28th, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Eva Johns at (727) 808-7190.