TAMPA, Fla. — Feeding Tampa Bay is making a big change that will allow it to help more people in need.
Breaking ground this summer, the non-profit is building a new, larger warehouse that will allow it to assist more people across Tampa Bay who are dealing with food insecurity.
The non-profit expects to provide 90 million meals this year, but its president and CEO Thomas Mantz said the demand is closer to 150 million.
"I've been doing food relief for 15 plus years and social services for 20 years. I've never been more concerned than I am today," Mantz said. "Gas, food, and rent are all up 30 to 70 percent. How could any household deal with that? Because income has not risen at the same level."
While demand is higher than ever, Mantz said there's only so much Feeding Tampa Bay can do in its current facility.
"Right now, we turn away food," he explained. "We're not able to gather all that we need because we don't have the space for it."
Their solution is an upgrade. This summer, Feeding Tampa Bay is building a giant new warehouse a few miles away.
"Anybody that does this work, the worst feeling in the world that you can have is to have one more person in line than you have food for, the new facility allows us to do more and much more," Mantz said.
Meanwhile, summer is fast approaching, when many kids won't have access to school meals. According to Feeding Tampa Bay, one in four kids in Tampa Bay today does not have enough food.
For those kids, a bowl of cereal in the morning can make a world of difference. You can help right now by donating to 10 Tampa Bay and Feeding Tampa Bay's "Cereal for Summer" drive.
"Cereal for summer is one of the ways that we try to do something about [food insecurity] by gathering cereal, which creates healthy breakfast for children, but also getting the community engaged in the conversation and support around making sure that children are fed," Mantz explained.
You can donate cereal and other breakfast items at Sonny's BBQ restaurants, most Goodwill stores, and the 10 Tampa Bay studios, or go to cerealforsummer.org.
This Friday, May 5, will be our big collection day on both sides of the bay. Last year, we collected enough cereal and cash to provide 2 million meals.