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Cereal for Summer: How you can help feed children around Tampa Bay this summer

As the pandemic continues, so does the need for assistance.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — One in four children in Tampa Bay don't know where their next meal is coming from, according to Feeding Tampa Bay. 

And as our community continues to be impacted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the need for food donations is greater than ever. Kelley Sims, chief development officer at Feeding Tampa Bay says, during the pandemic, 68 percent of people who sought help from Feeding Tampa Bay’s pantries “never needed food relief in the past.” 

That’s why 10 Tampa Bay and Feeding Tampa Bay are once again teaming up for Cereal for Summer. We are asking individuals, groups, businesses and government agencies to collect cereal from April 1 – May 14.

You can register your food drive or donate online at www.cerealforsummer.org.

During the entire Cereal for Summer drive, you can also drop off your cereal donation at most Sonny's BBQ restaurants.

Last year, COVID-19 forced 10 Tampa Bay and Feeding Tampa Bay's annual Cereal for Summer drive to go virtual. 

Despite having to shift the event online, the program brought in 667,000 meals.

“It was by far, our largest year ever,” Sims said.

Throughout the United States, one in four families is on the verge of food insecurity, according to a 2020 report by Feeding America. Most children within this group rely on free breakfast and lunch from their schools as their primary meals during the school year. 

When school is out for the summer, those same children are less likely to receive free meals. 

“As people head back to work, we're finding those families are further behind than they've ever been,” Sims explained.

“Our COVID response is going to go on for a couple more years,” she added.

This year, Feeding Tampa Bay will continue to offer virtual options for the Cereal for Summer program. Sims said people will have the ability to donate money through its virtual booth drive.

“[With money] we can make it go much further than anyone's retail purchase in their own grocery. For instance, if someone wants to give five or $10 we can multiply that many times over,” Sims explained.

For more information about in-person donations and this year's drive, click here or contact 10 Tampa Bay's Kathryn Bursch at KBursch@10TampaBay.com.

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