Tampa (7/19/17) – Today, Feeding Tampa Bay announced a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to fund the infrastructure that will ultimately help the food bank’s partner agencies secure and distribute more nutritious food to families in need. The grant will support investments in the equipment necessary to handle perishable products, such as refrigerated vehicles; coolers and freezers for transporting, storing and distributing food; thermometers and temperature calibration devices; among other items.
“One in seven people struggle with hunger in Tampa Bay, including 250,000 children,” said Thomas Mantz. “We are thankful to the Walmart Foundation for helping to ensure that people who struggle with hunger have access to nutrient-rich food. This grant will go a long way in helping Feeding Tampa Bay and our partner agencies serve our community.”
Feeding Tampa Bay secures fresh, perishable food from retailers across the Tampa Bay area. Every week, we pick up food donations from over 500 retail locations across our territory. Not only is our fleet of trucks responsible for picking up these donations, but we have also enabled many of our agency partners to pick up donations directly from nearby stores. That being said, the grant from Walmart has been used to purchase 22 commercial grade refrigerators for our agency partners who pick up from retail locations. Access to refrigerated storage space is critical to building the capacity of our partner agencies and allows them to distribute more meals to our community. With refrigerated storage space, our agencies can distribute more fresh, healthy food, thus improving the overall health of our hungry neighbors.
The Walmart Foundation has been instrumental in helping food banks rescue and distribute more perishable food from retailers across the United States in a sustainable, cost-effective way. This grant is a part of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s ongoing commitment to helping families who struggle with hunger by providing four billion meals to people in need in the U.S. by 2020.
Since 2009, the Walmart Foundation has been a leading supporter of infrastructure grants to Feeding America food banks and their member agencies. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provide donations of both food and funds to the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks. Last year, Walmart donated over 9,000,000 pounds of food to Feeding Tampa Bay via the Retail Store Donation Program, and created 7,500,000 meals for our local community. This year looks hopeful for reaching or exceeding those same numbers. The refrigerator donation will create over 1.5 million pounds of cooler capacity annually for our agency partners, allowing them to receive even more food throughout the year.
With food insecurity remaining high throughout the country, the ability to distribute more food is critical for food banks. According to the USDA, more than 42 million people nationwide are food insecure, which means that they may not know where they will find their next meal. In Tampa Bay, 700,000 residents are food insecure. To learn more about what Feeding Tampa Bay is doing to fight hunger, visit feedingtampabay.org.