Candid Awareness Campaign Seeks to Dispel Stereotypes of Hunger in Tampa Bay
Feeding Tampa Bay Shares Personal Stories to Feed 700,000 People in Need
Tampa, Fla. – “Lazy, burden to the system, unmotivated or problem.” This is how the 700,000 food insecure individuals and families in Tampa Bay are often and unfortunately labeled. Feeding Tampa Bay works year-round to support these individuals who lack consistent access to food and are regularly forced to skip meals. While hunger is often associated with homelessness, less than two percent of those in need live on the streets.* Seeking to dispel the damaging stereotypes of hunger, Feeding Tampa Bay has launched a candid and thought-provoking campaign based on the stories of real Tampa Bay residents facing hunger.
Hunger impacts working adults, children and seniors. Approximately 60% of people who battle hunger live above the poverty line. This population owns or rents a home and drives a car. However, food-insecure people are often stacked with unpredictable expenses, like from a car accident, or face chronic illnesses that cause medical bills to pile up.
“More often than people realize, those who don’t ‘look’ like they should be visiting a food pantry are the ones who need it most,” said Thomas Mantz, executive director at Feeding Tampa Bay. “We’re asking citizens of Tampa Bay to put all of the labels aside and establish a more human connection with those who are struggling. The need for a good meal is something we all have in common.”
That’s why Feeding Tampa Bay has launched its “Don’t Label Hunger” campaign – to fight the many stereotypes about hunger and deliver more meals across the 10 counties of West Central Florida.
Carol, a resident of Riverview, visits food pantries fueled by Feeding Tampa Bay a few times a month. She looks like any other mom you’d meet. She takes care of her special needs son full time. Her husband also works full-time as an electrician. But their family can’t always afford both food and the expensive health and behavioral care her son requires.
“I used to work as a special education teacher, until they found a tumor in my leg,” Carol shared. After fighting a hard battle with cancer, she wasn’t able to return to work. At the same time, her son’s needs for specialized care intensified.
Carol’s plight mirrors what many parents, children and seniors experience on a daily basis – the tough choice of being able to afford food or paying for other critical expenses.
Feeding Tampa Bay exists to shorten the line of people needing food assistance and to give them nutritious meals to feed themselves and their families. Every month, the organization delivers more than 3 million meals locally – but that only fills about half of the current need.
Through the Don’t Label Hunger campaign, the public can help individuals who go hungry. For every $6 donated to Feeding Tampa Bay, one person can be fed for an entire month.
“You can change someone’s life for less than your Netflix subscription,” Mantz said.
Learn more about the campaign at DontLabelHunger.com.
*Source: National Homeless Information Project
• Social Media Toolkit
• The Faces of Hunger: Dropbox Link
• The Faces of Hunger: Carol’s Story
• The Faces of Hunger: Nevin’s Story
Jayci Peters, Feeding Tampa Bay
About Feeding Tampa Bay
Founded in 1982, Feeding Tampa Bay is the largest food rescue and distribution organization in the community, serving a food-insecure population of more than 700,000 people in a 10-county area. Feeding Tampa Bay recovers surplus food donations from local growers, manufacturers, supermarkets, and organized community food drives and distributes it to those in need through a partnership network of more than 500 faith-based and other incorporated nonprofit hunger relief organizations. Over the past five years, Feeding Tampa Bay supplied more than 100 million pounds of food, enough to provide more than 3 million meals every month to those who would otherwise go hungry. www.FeedingTampaBay.org