2022 was a huge year for Feeding Tampa Bay; We distributed nearly 95 million meals to neighbors across all 10 counties we serve! But our vision doesn’t end there. In our effort to create a hunger-free community, we’re aiming to put over 150 million meals on the table each year by 2025.
“How do we plan on doing that?” You might be asking. Our coverage area is vast and diverse — a mosaic of urban hubs, suburban neighborhoods, and rural towns. Although food insecurity exists in nearly every community in the U.S., rural places are often most hard-hit by hunger. Our neighbors in these areas deal with reduced job opportunities, a lack of easily accessible public transportation, and fewer grocery stores where they can purchase good, nutritious food. We at Feeding Tampa Bay must vary our approach to food distribution so that we equally meet the needs of both our urban and rural neighbors.
Most of the goods we distribute are a mix of donations from grocery stores, government programs, farms, and manufacturers. And given the diversity of our region, we provide our partner agencies with the opportunity to request culturally appropriate foods for their clientele through our online ordering platform. After all, our smaller agencies know the needs of their communities best.
So how exactly do we start the distribution process?
Well, here are a few of the innovative models we’ve used to deliver food throughout west central Florida:
This model is ideal for our urban partner agencies in Hillsborough County. Each of these agencies has the opportunity to come shop for items — produce, nonperishables, etc. — at the Feeding Tampa Bay warehouse.
Hub Distribution Model
Under this method of distribution, our trucks take different orders of food to one of our partner agencies. Then, smaller agencies gather at the bigger agency’s location to take their respective portions and bring them back to their home bases. This is an efficient way for FTB to maximize delivery time and still provide food access to our rural partners.
This model is geared toward agencies with a lot of clients, but not enough space/facilities to store extensive amounts of food. Our trucks will deliver pallets to the agencies just in time for distribution events like mobile pantries.
Agency Empowered Retail Pickup program
As a leading figure in the fight against hunger, Feeding Tampa Bay also works with local stores to enhance food availability for our partner agencies. Some capacity constraints may prevent agencies from storing the large quantities that our trucks deliver. So instead, these agencies can go to nearby grocery stores that have partnered with FTB. There, they can shop for produce and other items their community needs.
Creating a Hunger-Free Tampa Bay
We define a hunger-free community as one in which any person or family can thrive through access to healthy food or resources for financial self-sufficiency. We understand that, with over 400 partners across 10 counties, we must find progressive ways to get food into the hands of our neighbors. We hope that, by continuing to diversify our distribution methods, we can reach that 150+ million meal goal together.
Feeding Tampa Bay has a limited ability to bring on additional partners at this time. But we do encourage prospective partners to submit an interest form for the future. To access that form, click here!