Changing Face of Hunger: How hardworking Americans struggle to buy food

People with jobs, families and the disabled are needing help.

ST.PETERSBURG, FL- Look around you. Chances are someone you know might be hungry.

In Tampa Bay, more than 700,000 people are food insecure, meaning they lack consistent and easy access to safe, nutritionally adequate food, according to Feeding Tampa Bay.

The non-profit recently launched a campaign called "Don't label hunger."

They’ve been featuring local people like Carol, who don’t fit the stereotype to need assistance from a food pantry.

“The first time I was at a food bank, I felt a little uneasy. I never thought I would be there,” says Carrol, who didn’t give us her last name. “A lot of people there, I thought they were uneducated, but I've learned that you never know what their story is. Once you meet them, you find out they could have been like me.”

Click here to listen to her story.

Teacher, firefighters, police officers go to food banks because they too struggle getting food.    

Aside from providing food through their food pantry, Feeding Tampa Bay also has mobile food pantries that go to local communities.

What started as three to four a week has grown to more than ten. Many people don't have transportation to get to most food pantries.

Kelly Hall with Feeding Tampa Bay says some people are just a paycheck away from becoming homeless.

She's seen that firsthand after Hurricane Irma. People who have never needed assistance before have turned to them.

“That's why we don't ask for ID, we don't ask for proof of address. If they need food assistance, we want them to come and it be a positive experience for them,” says Hall. “We don't know what they're going through and we want to make it easy for them.”

Since Irma, the organization has seen a huge increase in the number of people needing their help, like Puerto Ricans who moved to our area and people who lost their jobs after the hurricane.

We found Carrol Abrams at Tuesday’s mobile food pantry in St. Petersburg.

She was struggling before the hurricane, but now it's much worse. She says this food will help feed her family on Thanksgiving.

“This is going to make such a significant difference on this holiday to give thanks,” says Carrol.

Gloria Maxwell is also one of the brave, speaking out about the changing face of hunger.

She was an accountant making good money but after an injury, she couldn’t work and lost her job.

“Food is ridiculously expensive,” says Maxwell. “It helps with the budget. I'm disabled and a widow. This helps me be able to afford to take care of other things like getting my car repaired because I don't have to spend it all on food.”

If you're in need of food for Thanksgiving dinner, there's another mobile food pantry stop Wednesday morning. It's from  9 AM – 10:30 AM at Positive Impact Church, located at 2750 34th St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33711.

There will also be another two next week:

11/29/17 from 4:15 PM – 6 PM

Dover Boys & Girls Club, 2820 Gallagher Road, Dover, FL 33852

11/30/17 from 10 AM – 11:30 AM

Walmart Dade City Parking Lot, 12650 US-301, Dade City, FL 33525

Just last week we told you how in four counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando, and Pasco, the number of homeless kids doubled between 2008 and 20-11. 

There are about 9,400 kids that are homeless.

They will lag behind their peers at school from test scores to attendance and are often suspended.

That's because they're focused on the essentials. Things like housing, food, and transportation.

.Your donations this holiday season can make a difference

We asked Feeding Tampa Bay about how far your money will go if you donate.

For every $1 you give, volunteers can feed 10 meals.

So skipping a Starbucks latte could feed 20 people breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Feeding Tampa Bay welcomes your donations as well as your time if you want to volunteer.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment