Simon Majumdar, Emily Ellyn and Whitney Miller know their way around a kitchen. The celebrity chefs also know how big of a deal hunger is in this nation.
“Man, that is stressful and I can only imagine how it is every day to have to do that,” said Ellyn, who works for the Food Network and has competed on several of the network’s cooking shows. “Being able to educate the community on how $15 can really stretch into multiple meals is something that we really need to start talking about more.”
Feeding America Tampa Bay announced the food bank would shorten its name to Feeding Tampa Bay as part of a sweeping effort to connect the region with the issue of hunger and focus the organization’s efforts on enriching the lives of the 700,000 families, children and seniors who go hungry each day.
“Feeding Tampa Bay was at a point where we needed to do some deeper soul searching about who we are, what we do and who we serve,” said Jenna Nelson, chair of the Feeding Tampa Bay Board of Directors and executive vice president of human resources for Sykes. “Our refreshed brand represents our focus and commitment to this community—for it to be a better place for us all to live and thrive.”
Feeding Tampa Bay also revealed aspects of a three-year strategic plan, which invites the community to Be Food Forward with the organization and tackle hunger in the community with a new perspective.
“We know that we cannot put forth yesterday’s ideas and expect to alleviate today’s challenges,” said Thomas Mantz, executive director of Feeding Tampa Bay. “Be Food Forward is our promise to the region and to those in need that we will be a true change agent enriching the health of our community over the next three years and beyond. We’re making a fundamental shift from an output way of thinking to an outcomes mindset.”
Moving forward, the food bank will align its operations under three main themes:
–Engage & Mobilize – Feeding Tampa Bay works under a collaborative model with hundreds of agency partners, thousands of donors and tens of thousands of volunteers. By developing and implementing new education programs, working with local civic leaders and partners in the fight against hunger, the food bank will energize and mobilize the community around this issue.
–Innovate & Optimize – In three years, Feeding Tampa Bay plans to be distributing more than 60 million meals each year in the 10-county region—70 percent of which will be fresh, healthy foods. Feeding Tampa Bay’s food delivery mechanism will become more mobile to capture and repackage more quickly much of the food that would otherwise be spoiled or wasted.
–Healthier Outcomes – Food is not just sustenance—it’s a health prescription that can return a person to well being. New programs and collaborations, such as one with USF and a medical partner, will be announced shortly to integrate food relief with long-term, healthy options.
Feeding Tampa Bay has already generated more than $1 million in support of its Be Food Forward initiative, with corporate donations coming in from Bank of America, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Gary and Melody Johnson, HSBC, Laser Spine Institute, The Mosaic Company, Wells Fargo and Winn-Dixie.
As a kick-off to Hunger Action Month, the announcement took place in the newly renovated Feeding Tampa Bay warehouse in East Tampa. Every September, the organization offers opportunities throughout the month for the public to engage in hunger relief activities.
Jeff Vinik’s ambitions go beyond winning Stanley Cups and revitalizing downtown Tampa.
He says he also wants to help improve the health of the community.
“We’ve got the $1 billion-plus real estate development going on, and wellness and health (are) such a big part of what we are thinking,” the developer and owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning said Thursday. “It’s going to be part of our brand and one of the foremost initiatives.”
September is Hunger Action Month all across the US, and more importantly here in Tampa Bay. The key word in the title is, of course, action which is defined as the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim. Our aim, in Hunger Action Month, is to create the awareness that leads to action. We believe, fundamentally, that if our community knew how many of their friends, neighbors, coworkers and family members were seeking food relief, they’d get involved. Action can happen in so many ways; some will volunteer their time, others will assist with their talents and still others will make donations to the cause. Each of these is a critical piece of changing the hunger equation here in our community. Hunger is a solvable problem and action is it’s answer. Where there is community will, monumental change is possible.
September — dubbed Hunger Action Month — was kicked off by an announcement from the region’s food bank that Feeding America Tampa Bay will now be Feeding Tampa Bay.
The new name was revealed Sept. 1 to about 75 social service agency representatives, volunteers and the media by Feeding Tampa Bay’s board President, Jenna Nelson. She and Executive Director Thomas Mantz also outlined a three-year strategic plan, Be Food Forward, for the organization, which began in 1982.