On March 27, 2017, Lightning and Blackhawk fans cheered as Mrs. Bonnie James was awarded the Lightning Community Hero award. The Community Hero award highlights individuals that have made a significant impact on the community, and Miss Bonnie could not have been a more deserving candidate.
Bonnie James is a woman who has generously given her heart, time, talents and compassion to others in the Tampa Bay community. Bonnie and her family founded a small non-profit they named Kingdom Kids of Tampa Bay, Inc. in 2004 and have since fostered over 100 children. With limited resources and, often times, a budget that spilled over into the family’s personal finances, Mrs. James never let that stop what needed to be done. Over 400,000 meals have been served to food insecure children and families in our community in the last six years. In addition to caring for her foster children, Bonnie extends her giving to seven title-one schools in Hillsborough County – providing breakfast on Saturdays, several thousand snacks during test times, as well as monthly meals. Mrs. James runs Kingdom Kids and provides food to children without access to regular meals, all while raising two children of her own.
Although the focus of Bonnie’s non-profit has always been children, she shows an unwavering love for everyone in the community. Bonnie helps small struggling churches meet the needs of the families they serve, supports three homeless ministries that feed nearly 300 individuals each week, and provides meals and support to seniors through Kinship Care and a low income, 85-resident senior community.
Most of us have given back to the community in some way, but for Miss Bonnie, every day is a day of service. Bonnie recently helped a homeless couple find housing, food and work, and even organized a wedding for the couple. In three short days, this couple of 8 years found themselves with wedding attire, flowers, a photographer, church, minister and reception with their new co-workers (through a job Bonnie helped them find). Bonnie makes time for every individual that crosses her path and puts forth every resource she has to improving their lives. She does not stop until she knows they are better off than before they met her.
The strength of a community comes from the people who live in it. Bonnie James has changed, enriched and inspired countless lives through her generosity and service to others. Whether through housing, transportation, nutrition or financial assistance, Bonnie has been the solution to what many have seen as an unsolvable problem and provided hope to thousands of lives in Tampa Bay. Feeding Tampa Bay is honored to have had Miss Bonnie as a partner since 2007. Her work, her passion, and her heart not only better our mission, but better our community.