Monthly Archives: January 2018

Want to Fight Hunger But Short on Time? Try This!

Our desire to give back can be curbed by our resource limitations – time and money. Luckily, Feeding Tampa Bay has revealed new ways to give back that can fit easily into your daily schedule. Small strides can make a BIG impact!

    Grab a meal at So Fresh. During 2018, So Fresh will donate a proceeds of every sale to Feeding Tampa Bay. To participate, stop by the Downtown Tampa, South Tampa, or USF location and order your favorite dish!

    Feed Change. Incorporate giving into your daily routine by donating your spare change. Register your card, make some purchases, and donate to the fight against hunger.

    Become a ForkLifter. If you favor consistency, then join our monthly giving program. Sign up, set your monthly donation amount, and give back without missing a beat!

    Share your skills. Apply to become a Skilled Volunteer and contribute to the mission by sharing your talents with our staff. Know PhotoShop? Great with data? Apply and share your special skills!

    After-hours. If you’re looking to volunteer but can’t make it for our daily shifts, join us for after-hours sorting! We offer this activity every other Tuesday all year long!

Feeding Tampa Bay Expands and Bolsters Emergency Food Distribution in Polk County

Tampa, Fla. – Feeding Tampa Bay, the backbone of hunger relief in 10 counties, is taking over Agape Food Bank’s responsibilities to feed the nearly 100,000 food-insecure individuals living in Polk County. Before shuttering, Agape Food Bank was contracted to operate within Feeding Tampa Bay’s distribution network as Polk County’s main food bank.

“Our first priority is to ensure service to the families in Polk continues without disruption, and we’re working closely with agencies across the county to establish frequent food deliveries.” said Thomas Mantz, executive director of Feeding Tampa Bay. “Feeding Tampa Bay has 35 years of experience in serving the hungry in our communities. We’ve executed similar food distribution strategies in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas to great success.”

Feeding Tampa Bay sources food from farmers, retailers and other providers, and will implement its efficient operations model to get more meals to more people in need throughout Polk County. Feeding Tampa Bay is coordinating several programs with its new agency partners in Polk County, including the following:

  1. 1. Retail Route Drop Program, which allows agencies to receive food that has just been picked up from retail stores like Publix and Walmart – ideal for the fresh, perishable product. Feeding Tampa Bay delivers food directly to agencies halfway through their retail route, and makes another stop at the end of the retail route at a location where several agencies will come pick up that food, splitting it evenly between their pantries. These take place three days per week.

  2. 2. Hub Drops, another delivery model program in which Feeding Tampa Bay transports food from the Feeding Tampa Bay warehouse to an agency or several agencies’ locations. These will take place up to four times per week as agency partners sign up for the program.

  3. 3. Bulk Pick-Ups allow Feeding Tampa Bay’s partners who have refrigerated trucks to come pick up large quantities of food for their pantries from the Feeding Tampa Bay facility.

  4. 4. The Winn-Dixie Charity Market, which is located on-site at Feeding Tampa Bay. Several agencies in Polk County have expressed interest in shopping there. To best prepare, Feeding Tampa Bay is working each of these agencies into the schedule and evaluating the need to open additional shifts to accommodate more traffic at the facility.

  5. 5. The Agency Empowered Retail Program, which Feeding Tampa Bay uses to pair agencies directly with stores in their area so that they can pick up food from the stores themselves.

  6. 6. USDA TEFAP hub drops at two locations twice each week.

  7. 7. Direct Distribution/Mobile Pantry Program, Feeding Tampa Bay will be executing direct distributions monthly to help bring more food to Polk County. These distributions will bring truckloads of nutritious food (both non-perishable and perishable) directly into high-need areas.

Not only bringing efficiency, the Feeding Tampa Bay distribution model will also increase the amount of meat and fresh produce given to hungry Polk families.

“Feeding Tampa Bay has provided us with a smooth transition – with a great selection of product and helpful solutions to share with the recipients of our food pantry,” said R. Alan Sheppard, Student and Missions Pastor at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church. “The retail truck route also works very well with us. We work together as a team to put away frozen items and prepare for the upcoming week.”

To learn more about how Feeding Tampa Bay operates, visit

Good Day Tampa Bay! Charley Belcher visits the warehouse

The giving season has come to a close but the need for food assistance in our community is still present. Watch Charley’s segment to learn more about how Feeding Tampa Bay addresses this need across a 10-county region and how you can help!

Feeding Tampa Bay to Expand Food Deliveries in Polk County

The Agape Food Bank in Winter Haven shut its doors at the end of December.

But some charities believe the change may actually benefit those in need of food assistance in Polk County.

Catholic Charities operated the warehouse grocery for more than 30 years. Non-profit agencies that serve the needy would shop there for discounted food.

But the charity decided to offer healthier options, such as fresh meat and produce, and will open two smaller markets in the county. The locations for those markets has not yet been decided.

The Agape Food Bank closure left many of the charities in Polk County and part of Hardee County without an easy way to access cheap food. That caused a lot of concern among charities, especially given that the Lakeland/Winter Haven area has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the nation.

That’s where Feeding Tampa Bay stepped in. The Tampa-based food bank has offered five options for charities to access food:

  • They will fill a tractor trailer with food and take it to a central location where several agencies can access it.
  • They will drop food at local grocery stores and agencies can pick it up there.
  • Agencies can shop for food at Feeding Tampa Bay’s warehouse in Tampa.
  • Agencies can order dry goods online and they can either go to the Tampa warehouse to pick it up or have it delivered.
  • Charities that are holding an outreach can get a one-time food drop for a standard fee.
  • Margaret Jones is with Heart for Winter Haven, which connects people in need with non-profits. She said charities were initially concerned about the change until they saw the plan from Feeding Tampa Bay.

“It gives them a greater opportunity to have better access to food, better planning for food and different types of food,” Jones said.

Feeding Tampa Bay has also offered to make nutritionists and grant specialists available to local agencies. The companies CEO met with charities to discuss the plan last month.

“Most people in the room were pleasantly surprised,” Jones said. “The concerns for the most part were alleviated.”

Feeding Tampa Bay supplied the Agape Food Bank with food, so the new plan removes the middle man, she said.

“What it means is a more robust way for the agencies to receive food,” Jones said.