Nearly 20 percent of Tampa Bay area residents go to bed wondering where their next meal will come from. Some 30 percent of children struggle with hunger.
Those figures come from Feeding America Tampa Bay, which is a regional food bank that supplies more than 700 agencies throughout West Central Florida with the food their clients need to survive.
According to Debbi McCarthy, director of development for Feeding America Tampa Bay, the agency serves a poverty population of some 700,000 people in a 10-county area that includes: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, Hardee, Highlands and Manatee.
“Florida is ranked fourth in the nation for family hunger in households containing at least one child,” McCarthy said. “In the past 12 months, the food bank supplied more than 2 million pounds of food to its 10-county service area – enough to provide more than a million and a half meals every month to those who would otherwise go hungry.”
With summer just around the corner, the need for support is growing even stronger, McCarthy said.
“Summer is a particularly difficult time for food insecure children, who have no access to the federally funded school meals,” McCarthy said. “Heartbreakingly, many children face a long, hot, hungry summer.”
You Can Make a Difference
That’s why Carrollwood Patch is kicking off the Give-A-Ton Food Drive. It’s our aim to collect a ton of food for Feeding America Tampa Bay to help take a bite out of hunger during the difficult summer months.
To help make sure our neighbors don’t face a long, hot, hungry summer we’re partnering with our 18 sister Patch sites throughout Tampa Bay and businesses right here in Carrollwood to collect nonperishable food items. Feeding America Tampa Bay will in turn distribute our collections through its partner agencies to people in need.
Starting today, these businesses will be collecting food during their normal hours to help us meet or exceed our goal of 2,000 pounds of food:
(We are in the process of finding additional drop-off locations, so we’ll update this story as soon as we confirm them).
So, how far will a ton of food go?
“Two thousand pounds of food provides 1,600 meals,” McCarthy said. “We like to think of ‘missing meals’ for families when doing Hunger Math. One ton of food can gather 400 families of four around the table for a shared dinner. That’s a vision Patch readers can share with us and take pride in.”
To get involved in the Give-A-Ton Food Drive, just drop off nonperishable food items at one of our partner businesses. You can also make a financial contribution to the drive directly on Feeding America Tampa Bay’s website. Just go to the donation page and look for the Give-A-Ton Food Drive option.
Thank you in advance for your help Carrollwood Patch readers! Together we can make a real difference for those who face hunger every day.