Report says 1 in 6 Tampa Bay residents seeks food assistance through food banks

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Feeding America Tampa Bay is located a block south of Seventh Avenue on 50th Street in Tampa. - CHIP WEINER
  • Chip Weiner
  • Feeding America Tampa Bay is located a block south of Seventh Avenue on 50th Street in Tampa.

Feeding America Tampa Bay is the local affiliate of the nation's largest food bank network, Feeding America. Today the national group released what they are calling the most comprehensive examination of hunger in the U.S. It includes sobering statistics about what is happening on the local front in terms of the issue of hunger.

Here are just some statistics reflecting what's happening in the Tampa Bay area:

1 in 6 Tampa Bay residents seeks food assistance through FATB. The food bank serves more than 841,000 people and 282,000 households annually.

24 percent of FATB clients, or 200,000, are children.

19 percent of FATB clients, or 160,000, are senior citizens.

75 percent of FATB clients, or 631,000, choose between paying for food and utilities.

59 percent of FATB clients, or 496,000, eat expired food.

94 percent of FATB clients live in non-temporary housing — 23 percent have their own mortgage or own their home outright, and 71 percent lease or rent their home.

“Too often, we associate being hungry with negative stereotypes, such as being homeless or uneducated, when that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Thomas Mantz, executive director of FATB in a statement. “The new Hunger in America data humanizes the hungry in our community by showing they’re largely families or seniors with homes. They truly are our neighbors, our friends, our fellow church members and our coworkers."

Mantz has been with FATB since October of 2012. 

The local warehouse in East Tampa feeds 700,000 people in 10 counties annually from Citrus to Polk to Manatee. They also run six other distribution areas in the region. It’s one of 202 U.S. branches of Feeding America, which until a name change in 2008 was known as America’s Second Harvest. 

CL published a feature about the organization and what they do at their location last summer.


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