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Feeding Tampa Bay breaks ground on a new headquarters that will offer more than just meals

Rendering of the Feeding Tampa Bay facility, a green, white, and brown building with trees in the front.
Feeding Tampa Bay
Rendering of Feeding Tampa Bay's 217,000 square foot facility.

The new facility will continue to serve people struggling with food insecurity while offering new, additional services.

Ground was broken Tuesday on a new state-of-the-art headquarters for Feeding Tampa Bay, one of the largest charities in the United States.

Thomas Mantz, the president and CEO of the non-profit organization, said his team visited nearly 30 food banks across the country, looking at what was successful or not, and what elements would work best for the new $60 million facility.

Feeding Tampa Bay has grown out of their current building, where they serve around 90 million meals a year to clients in 10 counties.

Mantz said nearly 75% of the food they provide is perishable, but only about 14% of their storage is meant to hold such items.

That issue should be solved with the much larger, 217,000 square foot facility off Causeway Boulevard in Tampa. The added space will allow them to serve more than 150 million meals annually.

The group will continue to help people struggling with food insecurity, but once the facility opens its doors, they will be able to offer a multitude of services to the community.

Group of people standing on a stage with a large excavator in the background pushing dynamite sticks to break ground on cleared land.
Feeding Tampa Bay
Feeding Tampa Bay pushes the dynamite to officially break ground on the new facility.

Mantz said the plan is an "innovative model" different from anything the Tampa Bay area has seen before.

He added the new facility will house a number of community partners to help people, including — but not limited to — healthcare options, financial literacy courses, crisis centers, and insurance specialists.

When someone in need walks into the building, Mantz said, they are usually facing a variety of other challenges besides hunger, such as economic or housing needs.

He said having one place where people can grab a meal, and then talk to someone about health care options or see if they qualify for certain benefits, will only “lift our community.”

“We view access to food as an issue of social justice,” Mantz said. “In our view, every human being should have access to free resources. It should not be based on your geography or skin color, or the choices you may have made. Everybody needs healthy food on their tables. And we believe, fundamentally, that's our obligation, our responsibility, and really our opportunity.”

The new building is scheduled to open in 2024.

The groundbreaking wasn't the only news for Feeding Tampa Bay this week.

At the tour opening show for Bruce Springsteen on Wednesday at Amalie Arena, the singer-songwriter shared with the audience he was partnering with the organization to raise money for more than 17,000 meals.

If you are in need of assistance or would like to volunteer with Feeding Tampa Bay, click here.

Meghan Bowman is the WUSF Rush Family Radio News intern for spring of 2023.
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