On May 16th, Feeding Tampa Bay held its annual Fork Fight fundraiser at the Marriott Waterside Hotel in Tampa. Fork Fight is the premier gathering of Tampa Bay’s best chefs that raises funds to fight hunger in our community. Just under 500 guests joined together for a night of food, fun, and friendly auction bidding.
The night began with a reception catered by Mise En Place, the Reading Room, FarmTable Kitchen, and Locale Market. Passed appetizers were complemented by fine wines and craft beers from Breakthru Beverage, Southern Wine & Spirits, Stacole Fine Wines, Ulele, SixTen Brewery, Coppertail Brewery, and Pair-o-Dice Brewery. While guests sampled appetizers and beverages, they were entertained by a photobooth, live classical guitar, a wine wall, and silent auction items donated by various businesses in the Tampa Bay area. The silent auction packages focused on creating one-of-a-kind experiences in our community to highlight the offerings of our area and bring people together.
At the end of the reception hour, guests were asked to take their seats to begin the 4-course meal and wine pairing. With chefs from some of the top restaurants in the area on board, the meal was nothing short of a gourmet, fine dining experience.
Rococo Steak/Rooster & The Till – Chef Matthew Rainey & Ferrell Alvarez
Foie Ganache, golden raisin mostarda, black tea, and almond
Haven/Cena – Chef Chad Johnson & Chef Michael Buttacavoli
Lambrusco pork belly, porcini spaghetti pie, tomato, and truffle vinaigrette
Marriott Waterside/Hyatt – Chef Ali Nakamura & Adam Schaffer
Colorado rack of lamb, carrot puree, harissa yogurt, pickled blueberries, and hazelnut dukkah
Parkshore Grill/CRU Cellars – Chef Tyson Grant & Brad Sobo
Taleggio panna cotta, strawberry compote, dried local blueberries, crispy prosciutto, toasted hazelnuts, and petite basil leaves
After each course, Maryann Ferenc and Topher Morrison auctioned off various dining and travel packages, complete with beach stays and entertainment offerings. One of the most popular items purchased was the opportunity to sponsor a child in our community. For $250, an individual could pledge to sponsor a child’s meals every weekend for a year. With 250,000 food insecure children in our community, this sponsorship greatly impacts the lives of our young neighbors.
In total, Fork Fight 2017 raised 2.5 million meals for the Tampa Bay community. Feeding Tampa Bay extends a special thank you to our presenting sponsor, Sykes Enterprises, and all of our sponsors, for making this event possible, and to our attendees for joining together for the sake of our mission. Fork Fight is a success because of the compassion of our donors and the dedication to the fight against hunger.
On May 13th, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the National Rural Association of Letter Carriers held the 25th Annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive. This unique event brings the food drive to our doorsteps. Postal workers drop off bags at each house on their daily route at the beginning of the week and request that homeowners fill the bags with canned goods to donate to local food banks. The postal workers then collect the bags on their Saturday route.
This year, Feeding Tampa Bay worked closely with our local postal service to collect the cans gathered from the food drive. Feeding Tampa Bay staffed 8 post office location drop-offs on the day of the food drive. These sites gathered 165,000 pounds of food in the Tampa Bay area – in just one day. We are proud to be the beneficiary of this food drive and to help redistribute these goods to our neighbors in need. Thank you to all who participated in the event and to all who wish to stamp out hunger in our community.
Cereal for Summer with 10NewsWTSP and Feeding Tampa Bay ran from April 4th to May 5th. The goal of the Cereal for Summer campaign is to raise awareness about child hunger. While child hunger is a year-round problem, it is especially prominent in the summer months. When school ends for the summer, children that typically receive free or reduced school lunches no longer receive these meals and must find other sources for food. In Tampa Bay, 250,000 children go hungry every day. In order to combat this issue, 10 News and Feeding Tampa Bay joined forces to gather breakfast foods to nurture our young minds. This year, Cereal for Summer raised 40,605 pounds of cereal and $6,945, totaling 556,710 meals for children in need.
Meals were raised through both food and fund donations. We were fortunate to have cereal collection sites at over 60 locations across the Tampa Bay area. Between donations and social media awareness, lots of organizations and community members got involved. Some built pyramids, some played guessing games with cereal, and some hosted events. One of the largest events during the campaign was the VACO Ping Pong Tournament.
Feeding Tampa Bay would like to extend a huge thank you to all involved in making this campaign a success. To signify the close of the campaign and celebrate the efforts of all who participated, Feeding Tampa Bay held an awards ceremony in its warehouse on May 12th. Awards were given to the top participants in various categories:
Best Large Business
Best Government Organization
City of St. Petersburg
Best Food Supplier
Best Small Business
Best Law Enforcement
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s
Best Social Media
Orange Theory Fitness
All Around Cereal Champion
Nature’s Food Patch
During select dates in April and May, Feeding Tampa Bay volunteers had the opportunity to sign up for volunteer shifts at Frogmore Fresh Farm. Frogmore Fresh is a blueberry farm in Dade City. Frogmore Fresh was looking for ways to get the community involved and give back, and Feeding Tampa Bay was looking for unique opportunities to offer our volunteers. Our needs aligned and our partnership was formed.
On select dates over the past month, Feeding Tampa Bay volunteers had the opportunity to spend a morning or afternoon at the farm in the fresh air. These hunger heroes would weave in and out of rows of blueberry bushes picking the ripest berries from the vine. For each pail of blueberries picked, 45 meals would be provided to the food insecure in Tampa Bay. In total, 489 volunteers harvested 10,413 pounds of blueberries over 11 shifts, providing over 78,090 meals to our community.
Not only did this partnership draw attention to the fresh fruit in our local community, but it also provided meals to those in need. Blueberry picking was a great way for volunteers to re-engage with nature, reconnect with childhood activities, and escape from the hustle of everyday life. We are thankful for our partnership with Frogmore Fresh and grateful for new ways to get the community involved in giving back.
On May 4th, the Tampa Bay Rays hit a triple – donating to Cereal for Summer, unveiling a scoreboard, and volunteering in our warehouse. First, the Rays brought in over a pallets worth of cereal to donate to our Cereal for Summer campaign. Their involvement brings us closer to our goal of raising 500,000 boxes of cereal this year. Next, the Rays team volunteered to sort through non-perishable items in our Mosaic Volunteer Center. But wait, that’s not all! Then, they unveiled a brand new scoreboard in our warehouse to track the number of meals provided by volunteers each day.
The unveiling began by explaining how prevalent hunger is in our community and the many ways in which Feeding Tampa Bay works to combat this in our everyday mission. To mark the unveiling of the first-ever food bank scoreboard, Feeding Tampa Bay’s Executive Director, Thomas Mantz, threw a pitch to Brian Auld, President of the Tampa Bay Rays. Watch the full video of the inauguration below.
Ray’s Day was a great way to highlight our partnership with our local baseball team and draw awareness to the issue of hunger in Tampa Bay. To date, the Rays have provided 500,000 meals to our community and have committed to providing 500,000 more in the next 3 years. We are grateful for our partnership with the Rays and look forward to cultivating new ways to strike out hunger together.
On May 4th, VACO Tampa hosted a Ping Pong Tournament to celebrate the end of the Cereal for Summer food drive with Feeding Tampa Bay. The tournament consisted of 8 teams of 2, with representatives from the Tampa Bay Business Journal, IT Authorities, Dobler Consulting, VACO, West Point Insurance, Power Design, 81Bay, and the Rowdies. While the competition was fierce, Power Design walked away with the winning trophy. Salt Block Catering and 81Bay provided food and drinks for the event, while DJ Dani played music to get the crowd engaged and the competing teams pumped up. All who attended the event were asked to bring boxes of cereal to donate to the Cereal for Summer campaign. The event was a huge success bringing in hundreds of boxes of cereal for children in need. Feeding Tampa Bay is lucky to have a partner like VACO to help cultivate new ways to celebrate giving back to the community.
Still looking to get involved in Cereal for Summer? Donate today!
On April 29th, PowerDesign Inc held its Annual Golf Scramble at Terra Ceia Bay Golf and Clubhouse benefiting Feeding Tampa Bay. Teams of 4 competed to win cash prizes for various tournament categories, including longest drive, longest putt, closest shot to the pin, and overall winning team. A portion of all proceeds were assigned to Feeding Tampa Bay. At the close of the event, Feeding Tampa Bay received $2,200, providing 22,000 meals to our food insecure community. We are grateful for PowerDesign for taking a swing at hunger, supporting our mission, and raising awareness about hunger in the Tampa Bay community.