‘Stamp Out Starvation’ meals drive will assist with summer time demand, Tampa Bay meals banks say

TAMPA, Fla. — Mail carriers throughout Tampa Bay will drop a grey plastic bag in mailboxes Friday forward of the nationwide Stamp Out Starvation meals drive assortment happening Saturday. They’re hoping communities will fill the bag with non-perishable gadgets for them to select up on their mail distribution routes and donate to native meals banks.

“There’s not one other firm in America that may put a bag and a postcard in each mailbox, after which… as we drive previous each home and each neighborhood… will choose up that meals and produce it again to the submit workplace and donate all of it again to the meals banks to assist feed the neighborhood,” stated Florida President for Letter Carriers Al Friedman.

All of Hillsborough County’s donations will go to Metropolitan Ministries, a nonprofit serving to feed 4 counties in Tampa Bay.

“Proper now, the necessity is larger than we have ever seen earlier than,” exclaimed Brensey Thompson-Hurst, a spokesperson for Metropolitan Ministries.

About a million residents within the Tampa Bay area are meals insecure.

On Tampa Bay’s Community To Finish Starvation’s ‘Starvation Hole Map,’ a lot of Tampa Bay is shaded and is a minimum of 10% meals insecure. Just a few pockets of Tampa and South St Pete are as much as 50% meals insecure.

Community to Finish Starvation Tampa Bay’s Community To Finish Starvation’s ‘Starvation Hole Map,’ exhibits a lot of our space is a minimum of 10% meals insecure.

“We’re seeing households who’re already struggling, struggling extra,” stated Thompson-Hurst, “However the distinctive factor is we’re seeing households who’ve by no means wanted assist earlier than, some who’ve two dad and mom working in a house which are coming to us that want help.”

The St. Petersburg Free Clinic Jared S. Hechtkopf Group meals financial institution will obtain Pinellas County donations. The nonprofit informed ABC Motion Information that the variety of residents they serve has doubled within the final yr. Since October of 2022, they’ve fed greater than 200,000 folks.

David Himmelgreen is the director of the USF Middle for the Development of Meals Safety & Wholesome. He stated many counties in Florida have greater meals insecurity charges than the nationwide common.

“There’s a very massive concern with issues like the price of dwelling being so excessive, meals, hire, utilities, insurance coverage — particularly in Florida, inflation, the financial precarity we have now proper now,” Himmelgreen stated.

Whereas meals banks have grow to be neighborhood lifelines, Himmelgreen defined there are different short-term and long-term options to meals insecurity.

They embody extra:

Meals vouchers by medical services

Cell meals pantries and kiosks

Faculty meals pantries

Rising native meals

Nationwide coverage commitments

“One which I do know finest and I am getting concerned with are these ‘Meals is Drugs’ packages, the place folks will truly go to the well being care clinic or a hospital, and if they’re meals insecure, they will have entry to an on-site meals pantry, or they will be given meals vouchers that they will use in cellular meals pantries, or go to a spot like Walmart and redeem recent produce, for instance. And there have been various packages like that in Tampa Bay,” Himmelgreen defined.

“There are over 75 faculty pantries throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, and I feel another counties in Tampa Bay,” he went on. “Children are at particularly excessive danger… households with youngsters are inclined to at all times have greater charges of meals insecurity. So in case you can carry the meals to the youngsters and college into their households.”

“And one of many massive points… meals deserts. Individuals dwell in locations the place there actually is little or insufficient meals accessible and so they haven’t got the transportation or assets to go to these to these locations the place they will get more healthy meals. So by organising some kind of kiosk or supply hub for meals, folks in meals deserts can entry that meals that will be useful and that is been examined in various locations all through the nation and selected to be pretty efficient,” Himmelgreen added.

Metropolitan Ministries confirmed ABC Motion Information a few of the empty cabinets of their warehouse in Tampa.

“We sometimes see donations in the summertime decelerate than the common yr and so the meals drive actually helps out as a result of it helps us make it by the summer time,” Thompson-Hurst defined.

The excellent news is that regardless that the necessity is nice in Florida, so is the assistance from neighbors.

“It’s the largest one-day meals drive in America. Florida leads each state within the nation with over 10 million kilos of meals collected on that sooner or later. Let’s go forward and get again to that,” Friedman inspired.

Whereas houses throughout the nation obtain postcards concerning the meals drive the day earlier than, Florida is the one state that additionally will get a plastic bag. That’s as a result of the corporate Valpak that makes the playing cards is in St. Petersburg, Friedman stated.

Residents can put any donations out by their mailbox on Saturday, Could 13. It doesn’t need to be within the supplied bag.

The Farm Share Program supplies meals freed from cost to local people companion businesses in addition to on to households, youngsters, senior residents, and individualsin want to handle meals insecurity all through the state of Florida. For extra info on this program, contact Farm Share at 1-305-246-3276 or

When you or somebody you recognize want help with meals and different assets, you’ll be able to go to the Feeding America web site, and enter your state and zip code to seek out your nearest meals pantry. You may as well seek for Meals on Wheels assets.

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