Feeding Tampa Bay currently distributes 46.3 million meals into the community each year – and the need of the food insecure community is currently 115 million meals. The move towards closing this meal gap requires expansion of both our capacity and our programs, and our partners at DTCC are dedicated to helping us get there.
One crucial step involved in expansion is education of the issue and explanation of proposed solutions. The extension of our warehouse this past summer lends 30,000 additional square feet of space. With the help of DTCC, Feeding Tampa Bay will build out a portion of the space in a classroom style fit for educational seminars on food insecurity and the programs designed to alleviate it. The classroom will also hold courses for the inaugural class of FRESHforce, our brand new workforce development program.
FRESHforce, a program also made possible by DTCC, was conceived with the intent of “shortening the line,” which in the food bank world means creating opportunities for our hungry neighbors that will help to break the cycle of poverty. This program will work with individuals facing barriers to employment – including ex offenders, adults with disabilities, youth aging out of foster care, and disconnected youth (young people aged 16-24 who are neither working nor in school) – to build professional skills and soft skills through classes and on-the-job training related to the transportation, warehouse, and culinary industries. At the end of the training period, Feeding Tampa Bay will then leverage its corporate partnerships with companies like Publix, Amazon, and Coca Cola to place these individuals on the path towards self-sufficiency and financial stability.
Investing in individual capacity expands opportunities and future prosperity for those we serve. Through job skills and employment connections, we ultimately change lives, and transform communities, creating a stronger Tampa Bay and beyond.