Without constant access to healthy, nutritious foods, children struggle behaviorally and academically. Programs like Feeding Minds, a collaboration with community partners across Tampa Bay, are addressing this issue by opening school pantries in low-income areas across our service territory. School pantries serve as a source of groceries for children and families who struggle to find food.
1 in 4 children in Tampa Bay struggle with hunger. These students typically rely on free or reduced cost school lunches to fulfill their daily meals; however, when school stops for weekends or breaks, so do meals. In Hillsborough County alone, over 65% of public school students receive these free school meals.
In it’s first year, Feeding Minds opened 8 school pantries in elementary schools across the most at-risk low income areas in Hillsborough County. At this time, 25 Feeding Minds school pantries are up and running – offering groceries to hundreds of families each week. To date, Feeding Minds pantries have served 4,603 families and distributed 269,876 meals; and this is just the beginning!
Feeding Minds pantries can be found in elementary, middle, high schools, and colleges across Hillsborough County – and we are proud to have opened our first school pantry in Pinellas County this past year. With the help of the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County and our other partners, we plan to continue to expand the Feeding Minds program across our 10-county service territory. Imagine a day where no student worries about going to bed hungry!
See below for the current list of pantries.