One in four local children go to bed hungry, according to the Community Food Pantry.
But not if food pantry volunteers can help it. The organization, which serves all of Odessa and other local areas weekly, is partnering with Feeding America Tampa Bay to host a direct distribution on Tuesday, Feb. 19, and helping hands are needed.
“The face of the pantry client looks like yours and mine,” Director Monica Wilson said. “They are the working poor, the elderly, the sick, those on fixed incomes, your neighbors and friends.”
The distribution will provide more than 300 families with supplemental groceries. Though service does not begin until 9 a.m., clients tend to start lining up at about 6 a.m., Wilson said.
“We greatly appreciate any support our local North Tampa, Lutz and Odessa communities can provide to assist us on this day,” Wilson said.
Volunteers are asked to arrive as close to 8:15 a.m. as possible; closed-toed shoes and comfortable clothing are suggested.
Anyone 10 years and older who can stand for a few hours can volunteer, Wilson said. Students can earn community service hours, as well.
“We sign off on all paperwork required and assist students in their philanthropic efforts in the community,” Wilson said.
The nonprofit organization relies solely on donations from the community to keep the pantry stocked. They accept monetary and non-perishable donations any time.
In addition to Tuesday’s special event, the pantry needs volunteers on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Anyone who has a heart for those in need is welcome and needed to help out, Wilson said.
“We assist schools, organizations with can food drives, car washes, and any other fundraising to help end the fight against hunger,” she said.
Volunteers for Tuesday’s distribution should park in the grass on the east side of the Village Presbyterian Church on Carrollwood Village Run or in the Walgreens parking lot furthest away from businesses, Wilson said. There is a walkway from Walgreens across Carrollwood Village Run to the church, at 13115 S. Village Drive. The distribution will take place in the west parking lot.
Call 813-961-4115 for more information. You also can check out the event details on Facebook.