NOrth tampa Pantry Feeds the neighborhood
In 2008, Village Presbyterian Church members stocked a small closet with non-perishable food for people in need. Today, it has grown into The Community Food Pantry, which serves Carrollwood, Northdale, Odessa, Lutz and other parts of North Tampa.
Demand has tripled over the past five years. The pantry is feeding more than 21,000 people a year, and one-third of those are children.
What makes the facility unique is that it’s a “client choice” pantry, where people can choose the products they need. Donations raised on Give Day will help buy a new freezer, cooler, carts and shelving.
– Alana Siceloff, B2 Communications
APRIL 21, 2017
GIVE DAY 2017
Mike Hancock from Hancock Injury Attorneys supports The Community Food Pantry.
Give day launch at WEDU
The Community Food Pantry is excited to participate in Give Day 2017
Community Food Pantry helps working families get by
WTVT-ch. 13 (FOX 13) came out to the Community Food Pantry to show What's Right with Tampa Bay.
By Brad Stager
The Carrollwood News
November 25, 2015
A chilly November morning was warmed with the spirit of giving at Village Presbyterian Church’s “Everything but the Turkey” day of service and food distribution event.
The project was intended to provide Thanksgiving meal side dishes and food staples such as canned vegetables, gravy and stuffing, to families needing a little help to fill their holiday pantry. The project really took off with a donation of 197 turkeys from David Weekley Homes, making it possible to provide a complete meal to many recipients.
According to Monica Wilson, Village Presbyterian’s community food pantry director, the generous support from the community provided more than enough food to help the hundreds of people who requested a bag of groceries.
“We asked for donations and they came in abundance,” she said.
Wilson said they received enough donations to fill 500 bags and gave 318 of them to people who drove through the distribution line set up in the church driveway. The leftover food will be used to stock the church’s food pantry and help provide Christmas meals to its clients.
The food giveaway was open to anyone who came by and asked for a bag, whether they were clients of Village Presbyterian’s food pantry or not. Ringo Fish’s family is one of more than 350 that benefit from the pantry, and he stopped by for a Thanksgiving bag.
“This is awesome,” he said.
The extra holiday groceries will enable Fish to host Thanksgiving dinner at his Tampa home for his family of five, including two children who live out of town.
While it only took a couple of hours to distribute the bags of food and frozen turkeys, the project required a lot of help from volunteers to collect, package and distribute the food. Support came from members of the congregation, high school and college service clubs and youth groups from other churches.
Jill Lawniczak is the youth coordinator for Grace Lutheran Church and she welcomed the chance to involve her group. “It’s a great way for the kids to get involved in their own community and realize there’s a need right here where they live,” she said.
Developing that kind of community awareness is part of building relationships across perceived differences, according to Village Presbyterian’s minister of discipleship and missions, the Rev. Michelle Blume. “The younger people start to understand they’re the same as the people driving up, except maybe they have a little bit better circumstances,” she said.
Food pantry director Wilson says that sometimes the distinction between those who can give and those who need food support is not so clear.
“Many of the clients of our pantry are the working poor,” she said. “About 75 percent of them have jobs, but it’s just not enough to pay for a prescription and put food on the table.”
Besides special events, the food pantry distributes 12,000 pounds of food a month, Wilson said. It’s a job volunteers like Brenda DeBoer gladly undertake.
“It’s good to be able to help others,” the six-year volunteer said. “The need here in the community is so great and people are sometimes blind to it.”
The food pantry and food distribution events provide Village Presbyterian members the kinds of activities that promote the ideals of the church, according to senior pastor the Rev. James Yearsley.
“The evolution of our ministry has been to be on the ground and engage the community in the mission of the church,” he said. “This is who we are."