food insecurity

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, more than half of Florida’s public school students are eligible for free or reduced priced meals during the academic year. Yet during summer vacation, the need for healthy, fresh foods can actually increase. But some local community groups are teaming up to try and fill in the gap.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

On a recent Tuesday, the weekly produce market co-op at the Woodbrook Estates mobile home community in Lakeland was bustling. 

Daylina Miller/WikiMedia Commons

Polk County is a place of so many contradictions. It's the home of beautiful lakes, charming downtowns and historic landmarks. But this birthplace of several of Florida's governors, was also named by one recent study as having the country's second largest percentage of people struggling to avoid hunger.


You can be a part of our audience for a special Florida Matters town hall featuring a panel discussion on food insecurity in Polk County.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

  It’s a problem that affects 700,000 people in the ten-county Tampa Bay area: food insecurity.

Thomas Mantz, the Executive Director of the group Feeding Tampa Bay says food insecurity is when people like you and me don’t have consistent access to food due to a lack of money or other resources. 

Diana Stem in the older food storage facility.
Provided by St. Petersburg Free Clinic

Pinellas County has nearly 150,000 people who sometimes don’t know where their next meal is coming from, according to the group Feeding America.

They are known as being food insecure.

In Sunlit Paradise, Seniors Go Hungry

May 29, 2015
Ariel Min / PBS NewsHour

It wasn’t until the Maffuccis found themselves living on cups of coffee, and coffee alone, that they finally called a food pantry for help.

The couple had sold their suburban New Jersey home where they had raised three children and set out to pursue the glossy dream of an easy-going retirement in sunny southwest Florida.

But Mina and Angelo Maffucci quickly ran out of money—overtaken by illness, bad luck and an economic crisis that claimed their dream home in Naples to foreclosure. They soon found themselves staring at an empty cupboard.

The University of Florida is opening a food pantry for needy students and staff.

The pantry is scheduled to open when Summer B classes begin June 29.

The Gainesville Sun reports the Dean of Students office will run the pantry, which is a university-wide collaboration.

Hunger Relief in Tampa Bay

Sep 10, 2013
Yoselis Ramos

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its Food Security in the United States report for 2012 and it revealed almost 15 percent of U.S. households are what it calls "food insecure."  

That means at some point during the year, members of those households did not have consistent access to adequate food for active healthy living.

The Mosaic Company recently hosted a hunger relief forum at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. In full disclosure, Mosaic is a business sponsor of WUSF Public Media.