DADE CITY – Sometimes the most difficult part of life is knowing where your next meal is going to come from.
Two nonprofit organizations, Feeding Tampa Bay and Make A Difference, have teamed up so that struggling families and individuals can pick up a package of fresh food, which includes meat and vegetables. No ID or paperwork is needed to be eligible.
Food distributions are scheduled for each Thursday from 2-4:30 p.m. at John S. Burks Memorial Park, 13220 Gene Nelson Blvd., Dade City. Volunteers will be out handing out food rain or shine, as long as it is safe.
“If we see a need, we find a way to fill it,” said Larry Guilford, founder of Make A Difference. “Feeding Tampa Bay has been fantastic. Without them, without our volunteers, distribution would not be possible.”
Volunteers make up a critical part of the food distribution, from packing bags prior to the arrival of cars to handing them out following social distancing guidelines. Guilford said it takes about 20 to 30 volunteers each Thursday to get the job done. Over the summer, youth were a big help as they needed to get credit for community service. Now that the new school year has started, students are unable to come out and help.
Interested volunteers can call 352-437-3157 or sign up online or www.feedingtampabay.org.
In 2020, the nonprofits gave away 2 million pounds of food and were feeding more than 1,000 people each week, but the numbers have since decreased to approximately 350 to 400 people per week. Volunteers served the community 51 weeks of the year, only taking one off due to weather, Guilford said.
“It’s the biggest mobile food pantry on this side of the county,” Guilford said.
Guilford founded Make A Difference in 2007 as a means to provide hope and assistance to those in need. The nonprofit offers social, economic, and educational resources to help improve individual and families’ quality of life.
In October, Guilford said the nonprofit plans to re-start its monthly roundtable event, which provides networking opportunities for 20 to 25 local charities. This also gives nonprofits exposure for its needs, and new connections often find ways to satisfy these needs.
Additional food resources can be found by visiting www.FeedingTampaBay.org/findfood.