The Community Food Pantry strives to end the physical and emotional hunger of families in a dignified manner. Our comprehensive approach not only alleviates hunger with nutritional foods, but also provides support services such as health screenings, nutritional education for the whole person, veterans and homeless outreach.
The Community Food Pantry helped feed over 43,000 of your friends and neighbors in 2018. Each year parents who have trouble making ends meet, seniors on fixed incomes deciding between medicine and groceries, individuals who have lost a job or are underemployed come to our pantry for assistance. Over 11,500 local families visited our pantry to receive groceries, a gracious welcome and emotional support as well as blood pressure screenings and information on social services. We anticipate providing groceries to 50,000 people in 2019, more than a third of whom are children.
In 2008, the members of Village Presbyterian Church began stocking a small closet with a few non-perishable food items to give to those requesting help with groceries. By 2009, the small closet was no longer able to meet the needs of the growing number of families seeking assistance. The members of Village Presbyterian Church transformed half of the church office building into the Community Food Pantry.
The Community Food Pantry has continued to grow. In 2012 the Youth Take Over the Pantry program started, where high school students take over serving, ordering food, and cleaning the Pantry every summer. The pantry's first year of providing bags of holiday food at Christmas time was 2013. This program was expanded to Thanksgiving the following year when our Everything But the Turkey event launched. Our service area expanded in 2014 and again in 2015. In 2015 we participated in Give Day Tampa Bay, Giving Tuesday, and Kindness Day for the first time, raising money and bringing in food donations to allow us to better serve our clients. We also began to offer health screenings to our clients in 2015.
In 2018, the CFP provided 650,000 nutritious meals to over 11,500 families. Of the 43,000 people served throughout the year, nearly 40% are children and 15% are seniors. We are able to extend our reach by sharing our bounty with local schools through our weekend backpack nutrition program, Christian Social Services, Joshua House, McClain, Inc., AmVets, other local pantries, and through regular deliveries to the homeless or near homeless on the streets of Tampa. We further our mission by participating with Vista Gardens in Carrollwood Village in a compost program for produce we are not able to distribute.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I
was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was
a stranger and you invited me in. -- Matthew 25:35