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Feeding Tampa Bay

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.