Drive-thru Food Pantries Set to Feed the Hungry this Holiday Season

Hope Villages of America is hosting two mobile pantry events in Pinellas County for members of the community that need it.

(TAMPA BAY NEWSWIRE) — Hope Villages of America (HVA), formerly RCS Pinellas, will host two mobile pantry events in Pinellas County. Any community member in need of food may pick up a prepackaged box of groceries during the mobile food pantry events on December 12 and 19. There will be no ID, papers or pre-screening required to obtain the food.

To protect staff, volunteers and recipients, each mobile food pantry event will follow social distancing guidelines and operate as a drive-through. These contactless food pantry events will provide much-needed nutrition in areas of high need.

President and CEO Kirk Ray Smith shared, “In a good year, which 2020 has not been for so many Pinellas residents, we were already feeding 70,000 people — 15 percent of the Pinellas population — including 32,000 kids and seniors.” The Food Bank, which supports 75 subsites across the County, has seen a 100 percent increase in first-time guests as school and business closings have impacted both income and access to food.

“Guests are expressing a need for food, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, gloves and masks,” Smith said. “The most pressing needs we are meeting are for nonperishable items of canned beans, canned soup, canned fruit, pasta sauce, jelly and breakfast bars.”

“If you need help,” Smith said, “please come to these mobile food pantry events or reach out to us at the Food Bank.”

DATE: Tuesday, December 15th
TIME: 11 a.m. — 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Jordan Park Housing Community
1245 Jordan Park St. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33712

DATE: Saturday, December 19th
TIME: 11 a.m. — 1 p.m.
LOCATION: Community Health Centers of Pinellas Inc.
247 S. Huey Ave., Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

Donations and volunteers are also welcome, Smith said. “We also can use personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies. But financial support allows us to help more people by purchasing needed items in bulk at a lower cost. We calculate the cost of a full meal at $2.50 per person. So $25 can feed 10 people. A gift of $1,080 provides three full meals a day for a family of four for one month.”

The Food Bank is located at 700 Druid Rd., Clearwater, Florida 33756. Food distribution hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 12:30–3:30 p.m. and Thursday 12:30–6:45 p.m. Appointments are not needed for service. Donations can be dropped off anytime during business hours. Learn more about how you can help fight hunger in our community at rcspinellas.org.

Aurora Browne is a freelance writer in Tampa Bay. She shares stories on health and wellness, as well as brand features. She is also a dog enthusiast.