Message from the Guest Editor: Thomas Mantz, Feeding Tampa Bay
Imagine you’re sitting in your school’s carline, waiting to pick up your kids after a long day. Your stomach grumbles as your fingers tap the steering wheel. A teacher slides open the side door of your minivan and the kids pile inside. When you get home, the kids clamor for a snack, for dinner, for anything—they’re just hungry. You open the cabinets and the fridge only to find them empty. Your smile falls.
Not knowing when your next meal will come is a terrifying feeling. And too many families in Tampa Bay experience this on a daily basis. Food gives us the opportunity to connect over a meal. Especially during the Thanksgiving season, dinner time is a sacred space for our families to gather together.
More than 700,000 people in the Tampa Bay area face food insecurity, which means they lack consistent access to food, especially healthy and nutritionally adequate meals. In times of crisis, like with Hurricane Irma, this number surges.
While many associate hunger with homelessness, food insecurity is not limited by a certain type of person. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers – they are our neighbors, our coworkers, our gym buddies, maybe even our children’s teachers. In fact, 60 percent of people who go hungry live above the poverty line. Not everyone lives life with a safety net of thousands of dollars in savings, which means some people are just one disruption away from being food insecure, even if only for a short amount of time.
At Feeding Tampa Bay, we believe it’s everyone’s right to have access to food. We work around the clock to distribute more than 40 million meals each year within the Tampa Bay region, with a special dedication to kids and seniors in need.
As we move through the holiday season, please consider joining Feeding Tampa Bay in our mission to ensure that no one has to go hungry.