Since 2019, Feeding Tampa Bay and BayCare have established a holistic partnership to bridge Tampa Bay’s hunger gap. The two nonprofits share a similar philosophy when it comes to nutrition: that good health starts with access to good food. 

“Our community health needs assessments show that people in our community are in need of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life,” said Community Benefit Director Lisa Bell.  “We’re proud to partner with Feeding Tampa Bay to develop innovative strategies to meet this need.” 

Now, the health system and hunger relief agency are looking to expand their fight against food insecurity further into east Pasco County. 

Together, the two organizations are working to enhance the Feeding Minds school pantry program. BayCare has already sponsored 42 pantries across 4 counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, and Pasco. The pantries are stocked with a variety of healthy groceries that parents can pick up to ensure their children are nourished and thriving in school. FTB and BayCare know that students learn best when they are well-fed.

This partnership extends beyond schools too. BayCare now screens patients for food insecurity at each of its 14 hospitals. If someone needs or asks for assistance, BayCare’s nutritional services team offers them a “Healing Bag” filled with 2-3 days worth of non-perishable food items provided by Feeding Tampa Bay. The Healing Bags also include information about  community resources.

And earlier this spring, BayCare unveiled its new Health Education Center inside the Feeding Tampa Bay warehouse. The center provides valuable resources to visitors, including educational materials, personal consultations, and a Higi station where guests can track their blood pressure, BMI, and other health stats. 

“Food insecurity and physical health are inextricably linked. We know that lack of access to high quality, nutritious food contributes to poor health, and that access can be both preventative and restorative for those who battle chronic and diet related disease conditions, “ Matt Spence, chief programs officer, Feeding Tampa Bay. “Food Bank–Healthcare partnerships are critical to addressing the underlying causes of hunger and disease, not just the symptoms. BayCare and Feeding Tampa Bay stand arm in arm in this work and we are proud to move forward together.”

The teams from Feeding Tampa Bay and BayCare look forward to meeting you at Pasco Community Night, hosted by the Shoppes at Wiregrass on Oct. 20 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Families are welcome, with children encouraged to arrive in their Halloween best! Be sure to stop by for goodies and guidance on how both organizations can help lift families toward better health.

The partnership between Feeding Tampa Bay and BayCare wouldn’t be possible without support from the community. Volunteers are always needed, and people can access the volunteer calendar on the Feeding Tampa Bay website.  Even just one hour of sorting food or serving meals makes a direct impact. 

Want to help?  Donate to the Feeding Minds virtual food drive using the QR code, where every $1 donated amounts to 5 meals on pantry shelves for those in need living in the East Pasco area.

Wiregrass event poster

Feeding Tampa Bay and BayCare Stand Together towards creating a hunger-free Tampa Bay, we invite you to join us.