Planning for a Hunger-Free Tampa Bay

Posted on Feb 4th 2020 by Christie DeNave

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As the region’s leader in hunger relief, Feeding Tampa Bay has made a strong commitment to ending hunger by 2025, and Florida Blue has reaffirmed its support of that vision by investing $750,000 in three major initiatives to provide access to healthy food options directly in the pathways of our neighbors in need.

This transformational and collaborative approach has already begun to uplift our communities in need and improve the health and well-being of residents experiencing high rates of food insecurity. The focus is to decrease barriers for vulnerable populations ensuring equitable access to nutritious food for individuals and families with an outcome of health and capability.

“Florida Blue’s mission is to help people and communities achieve better health. Ensuring that all our neighbors have access to fresh, nutritious food is essential to the health of our Tampa Bay communities,” said David Pizzo, Florida Blue Market President, West Florida. “Food insecurity has a direct link to several chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, in addition to leading to poor health and struggles in school for children. Florida Blue is proud to partner with Feeding Tampa Bay in its work towards a hunger-free Tampa Bay by 2025.”

Florida Blue’s investment began last summer with a new program in Tampa’s University area, addressing the community’s needs by bringing accessibility to healthy food. Two additional initiatives being funded by Florida Blue will get underway in the coming months.

"The board and leadership of Feeding Tampa Bay are incredibly grateful for a partner like Florida Blue. As we have expanded our mission to bring health and capability to the 10 Counties we serve, Florida Blue has come alongside with significant funding and insight to propel our efforts forward. Supporting the distribution of fresh and nutritious foods to those who need it the most and investing in our programs that build personal capacity in individuals and families, Florida Blue truly exemplifies an organization deeply committed to lifting communities in the Tampa Bay region.” said Kelley Sims, Chief Development Officer of Feeding Tampa Bay.

  • The Produce Pantry Program - To increase the distribution of healthy foods, the mobile, fresh produce pantry is provided every Saturday at Trinity Cafe 2 between noon and 1 p.m. The program kicked off in May 2019 and provided healthy food options to more than 4000 households, including over 14,000 adults and 19,500 children, in its first seven months.
  • Feeding Tampa Bay’s Food Rx Program - Focused on creating healthy food pantries at medical facilities, the program allows doctors and health care professionals to support food insecure patients through the pantry specifically stocked with foods targeted to help them manage their health conditions. The program is targeted to launch in April with Tampa Family Health Center, and additional partner locations are being planned.
  • Feeding Pinellas, a Community Empowerment Center - Serving a community with one of the most significant gaps in food and service, the center in the Lealman area of St Petersburg will include programs such as Trinity Cafe, an onsite free grocery store as well as fundamental Benefits Assistance Services. The center is targeted to launch in May 2020

Funding for the three programs was possible through grants provided by Florida Blue and the Florida Blue Foundation.


About Feeding Tampa Bay 

As one of the nation’s top hunger relief organizations, Feeding Tampa Bay is ending hunger by fueling human potential in every family, child and senior across our 10-county region. By leveraging the daily connection around a meal, the organization is evolving its partnerships, programs, and services with a goal to break down barriers and create long-term health and capability in the lives of the individuals they serve. In 2020, Feeding Tampa Bay will deliver 60 million meals – 70% of which are healthy foods, create connections to benefits that supplement household income and graduate its first 100 students from its workforce development program focused on truck driving, warehouse logistics and culinary arts training. Feeding Tampa Bay believes every human being has potential, and hunger should never be a barrier to reaching it.

About Florida Blue

Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield company, has been providing health insurance to residents of Florida for 75 years. Driven by its mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, the company has more than 5 million health care members across the state. In total, Florida Blue and its affiliated companies serve 27 million people in 34 states. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

Filed under: Community  

Christie DeNave

Christie Hyde DeNave is a Senior Media Relations Consultant for Florida Blue devoted to serving Central Florida, Tampa Bay and Southwest Florida. She has worked around the globe with local, national and international media for nearly 20 years representing organizations such as the U.S. Olympic Committee, NASCAR, AAA and the State of Florida. In her free time, you’ll spot Christie cheering on the Clemson Tigers and serving on the Clemson University Alumni Council.

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