A good, healthy meal deserves a clean, well-lighted place. But a lot of people in the Tampa Bay area – one in seven adults and one in four children, in fact – face hunger on a daily basis.
Feeding Tampa Bay is here to help. And powering its East Tampa facility, where employees and volunteers package donated food to distribute to food banks and people in need – and making its new and improved community center a reality – is Tampa Electric.
With the TECO-sponsored community center at Feeding Tampa Bay, the local branch of the national nonprofit organization Feeding America has an upgraded and fully furnished space where the 20,000 volunteers it welcomes over the course of a year can meet. They have a lot of work to do, because hunger and food insecurity directly impact about 42 million people in the U.S. alone.
“We cherish our partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay and what they do to help people that are food-insecure in the communities we serve,” said Kim Estrada, manager of Corporate Relations and the TECO Foundation. “Having provided reliable power to the Tampa Bay area for more than 115 years has not only reinforced how closely connected we are to our customers – many of us are customers too – but it’s also made certain problems abundantly clear to us and others … problems that only strong partnerships can help solve.”
Thomas Mantz, executive director of Feeding Tampa Bay, said the community center builds on TECO’s long-time sponsorship of a refrigerated truck for food distribution in the nonprofit’s fleet.
“Our new community center, designed and decorated by TECO, will help us engage the thousands of folks who will work with us over the coming years,” he said. “By warming our volunteers’ experience with us – which the new TECO Community Center will do – we ensure they’ll come back, enabling more meals to flow to those who need them in our community.”
In addition to its work behind the scenes with the new community center, TECO team members regularly spend time on the front lines of the fight against hunger to sort, package and distribute donated food. You too can join the effort through donations or volunteerism.
As Mantz put it, the ones you help could be your own neighbors.
“Everyday people with jobs and homes – people just like all of us – struggle to pay their bills, and food is a casualty when rent, gas and medical expenses are first in line,” he said, adding that addressing problems like hunger and food insecurity is a communitywide effort.
“The type of support TECO has given to Feeding Tampa Bay has allowed us to expand and grow our mission significantly,” Mantz said. “Together we’ve improved the health and the lives our friends, coworkers and neighbors. To us at Feeding Tampa Bay, this makes TECO Hunger Heroes.”