Because no one
should go hungry.

At the heart of ending hunger in Manatee County

Feeding Tampa Bay and hunger relief organizations across Manatee County all have the same goal – to nourish those in need in our community. An ever-changing hunger landscape has required our role in Manatee County to evolve, but we remain committed to the shared vision of hunger relief with a strong focus on the people we collectively serve.

As we work towards a hunger-free Tampa Bay by 2025, we strive to ensure that anyone who has a want or need for a partnership, meal, service, or support in Manatee County will have access these resources. By rallying together, we can build a more accessible and sustainable path towards hunger relief for the community we serve.

The hunger relief evolution

Our investment in strengthening the pathways of distribution across Manatee County over the past two years illustrates our commitment to creating sustainable hunger-relief solutions for communities throughout our service territory. Feeding Tampa Bay has two desired outcomes for those we serve: health and capability. Achieving these two outcomes will change communities for the better.

  • Healthy foods create opportunities for those in need—increasing concentration, easing financial strain, and decreasing illness.
  • Household and personal capability developed through access to additional services, programs, and benefits could shorten or end the line entirely.

Serving the community is at the heart of our collective missions, and by rallying around this shared vision, we can better serve our neighbors and our community.

Moving Forward

We know that the majority of those we serve work one or more jobs to make ends meet and face constraints of time, money, and transportation in daily life. With this knowledge on hand, we are focusing on the people in need and the areas in which they reside. Food relief has to move to where our clients are and it must be available when they can obtain it. All future programs and partnerships are based on this fact.

  • Food donation landscape and agency capacity: Food commodities available for donation continue to change. As a food system, all food banks in our national network have seen the quantity of shelf stable food decline. The good news is that there is plenty of healthy, perishable product that families want and need – and that is typically more expensive to buy. This change, however, presents the challenge of having proper equipment to handle these products. We have taken measures to address these concerns – by securing funding to purchase coolers and freezers for our partners, by delivering to our partners the same day as their distribution – and will continue to take measures to support our partners, recognizing many are still adjusting.
  • Mobile Pantries: Mobile distributions allow us to bring food directly into food deserts and underserved areas where the need is high. By meeting clients where they are, we limit constraints like transportation and increase the reach of relief services.
  • New partner programs: We are working with the Boys and Girls Clubs to deliver the Afterschool Meal Program, a federal/state program that feeds children post-school day. We are in discussions to open pantries inside of schools – a more effective manner of managing childhood hunger than Backpack Programs – and to begin delivering more programs such as SNAP/WIC/CHIP sign-up assistance as well as other services that build household capability.
  • The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): TEFAP is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. When TEFAP is awarded for a specific county, all food is required by contract to be distributed to residents of that county. We cannot and will not use any food items designated for Manatee for any other county. This means we will be working with all of our partners in Manatee to effectively distribute the food that comes through USDA TEFAP.

Food for Manatee County

It is our job to feed the 50,000 individuals facing hunger in Manatee County. This is how we leverage our network of partners to distribute the food to this area.

  • Food recovery and distribution: All food recovered in Manatee County from the retail stores (and other sources) stays in Manatee County. There are a few instances where circumstances warrant us to bring food back to the Feeding Tampa Bay facility, but this is the exception, and a rare one. Our priority is to keep food local as often as possible – to provide connection and quality service to the food donors who want to help their local community and to curb costs of transportation.
  • Additional food support: One third of the food we distribute in Manatee County comes from outside the county. There are fewer food sources in Manatee, so Feeding Tampa Bay secures additional food from other areas of our service territory where there is a surplus and brings it into the county in order to meet the entire need in the community.
  • Partners in Manatee: The mission of food relief is a collective and collaborative effort. Feeding Tampa Bay is open to partner with any organization who wishes to move food relief forward. We currently work with 28 food relief organizations in Manatee County and encourage other organizations to join our network as well.
  • Partnership Fees: The food relief network in the United States has historically relied on two types of fees for partnership: per pound shared maintenance fees for food (up to $.19 per lb.) and service fees (delivery costs). Feeding Tampa Bay uses both conventions to maintain our level of service.

Contact

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our team.

Local organizations who would like to become a partner to Feeding Tampa Bay can email Scarlett Haynes at shaynes@feedingtampabay.org.

Media and community leaders may email Shannon Oliviero at soliviero@feedingtampabay.org.