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Feeding Tampa Bay

Canned foods line the shelves of the food pantry on the USF St. Petersburg campus.
Delaney Brown

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic are taking a toll on how and where people are getting food. While supplies are sometimes taxed in some grocery stores, people without jobs and without an income still need to eat.

Throughout Tampa Bay, food banks and pantries are attempting to serve the community. Here are some of their stories:

Aerial view of green tents
Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg

As Hillsborough County is under a “safer at home” order, those without a home are at risk.

To limit the spread of coronavirus, the city of Tampa has partnered with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg to create a temporary outdoor shelter for the homeless.

The shelter, called "Hillsborough Hope," is located on vacant land owned by Catholic Charities.

hand on top of hand
NPR

In addition to such things as travel bans, sports being shut down, and school closures, coronavirus has led Governor DeSantis to place a 30-day ban on all visitations for nursing homes throughout Florida.

But there are some things people can do to remain in touch with loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Boxes of food line the warehouse shelves at Feeding Tampa Bay
Delaney Brown / WUSF Public Media

Food insecurity is a problem for many in the Tampa Bay area all year long.

While many see Thanksgiving and the holidays as a time to help others, Feeding Tampa Bay President and CEO Thomas Mantz says it's important to carry that spirit of service all 365 days of the year.

Fresh green limes and red tomatoes in bins at a farmer's market.
Lisa Williams/Flikr

More than 2.8 million Floridians are unable to access affordable, healthy food in their community, according to Feeding America.

Florida Blue's parent company, GuideWell, is issuing a challenge to both organizations and individuals: submit a proposal that could lessen or end hunger in their own backyard.

Southeastern Grocers

It’s called a food desert. That’s when it’s difficult to buy affordable or quality fresh food, and it’s a major problem in Florida.

In west central Florida, about 60 percent of residents live either in poverty or more than a mile from a supermarket, according to Feeding Tampa Bay, a nonprofit food bank. 

The Agape Food Bank in Winter Haven shut its doors at the end of December.

But some charities believe the change may actually benefit those in need of food assistance 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. 

Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

A 2014 survey found that almost 20 percent of the households using the Feeding Tampa Bay food bank were either veterans or active duty military.

The Norman family is a military family recently arrived from Colorado and transitioning into civilian life in Tampa. Never in a million years did the parents imagine that they would need help feeding their children.