With over 40,000 Not-for Profit Partners within our network, ReEmployAbility is happy to have the opportunity to feature yet another one of our local nonprofits, Feeding Tampa Bay. Feeding Tampa Bay is part of the national Feeding America network that focuses on providing food to nearly 1 million families in the 10-county area of West Central Florida. Their mission is to change lives, one meal at a time, by leading its community in the fight against hunger. As the driving force behind all food relief in the Tampa Bay area, there are a lot of mouths to feed, and a lot of help needed by impactful Tampa Bay locals like ReEmployAbility’s Service Support Manager, Bryan Chase. Organizing his volunteer schedule through the nonprofit and ReEmployAbility’s company-sponsored volunteer program, Bryan recalled the process as “super easy” for him to set a date that he wanted to volunteer through the feedingtampabay.org website. A small effort for a great cause!
Bryan was asked a few questions to learn more about himself and his volunteer experience at Feeding Tampa Bay. This is what he had to say:
What is your role at ReEmployAbility, and what are some of your duties within that role? Please give a little background information on yourself, as well.
I am currently the new Service Support Manager, and I work closely with the company’s Director of Service Operations to implement and monitor process workloads and improvement for the department. I have been with ReEmployAbility for 3 years, where I started out as a Placement Coordinator. I love working for an independently owned company based in the Tampa area, where I was born and raised, and where my wife and I decided to settle down with our two Boston Terriers.
Why did you choose to volunteer at Feeding Tampa Bay, and how is the organization’s mission significant to you?
I had volunteered with them in the past with a previous employer and I love their mission and the impact they have on the Tampa Bay area. They service a total of 10 counties and served over 95 million meals last year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, food insecurity has been on the rise, especially with children, and knowing that I could have a positive impact on that was significant to me.
What were your duties and responsibilities while volunteering?
Potatoes! They had received numerous pallets of potatoes that were donated, and our volunteer duty was to bag them so they could be distributed to families. Me and the group I was with sorted and bagged more than 14,500lbs (about twice the weight of an elephant) of potatoes.
Would you recommend others to volunteer at this nonprofit, and what should they expect as a volunteer?
Absolutely! It was a wonderful experience bonding with the other volunteers who were there and the staff at the organization are extremely friendly and welcoming.
Feeding Tampa Bay Is Here To Help
Founded in 1982, Feeding Tampa Bay has become the largest nonprofit for food rescue and distribution in the Tampa Bay area, having received a 4 out of 4 star rating by Charity Navigator on and off for the past decade. Feeding Tampa Bay has set the bar high, serving over 95 million meals in 2021, becoming even closer to creating a hunger-free Tampa Bay.
We wanted to learn more about what it takes to feed Tampa Bay, so we reached out to the organization’s Volunteer Engagement Manager Shawn Chappell for more information and how ReEmployAbility’s Transition2Work® program has made an impact. This is what he had to say:
In your own words, briefly describe your organization’s goals for the community you serve.
Feeding Tampa Bay’s main goal is to help uplift our community through the development of programs and services focused on providing food and capability to those in need across our 10- county reach. We offer the community food for today by serving daily hot meals at our Trinity Cafes, the promise of food for tomorrow through grocery distributions at our pantry locations and food for a lifetime through our FreshForce program that offers courses in warehouse logistics, commercial truck driving and culinary arts to give people the resources they need to secure long-term self-sustaining capability through employment.
Briefly describe a recent accomplishment the organization met.
Facing the many challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extreme increase in food insecurity in our community, our organization rose to the occasion, increased capacity and was able to provide more food and resources than ever before.
How has your organization benefitted from its involvement with our Transition2Work® program?
Volunteers are essential to our organization, and we need around 500 volunteers a week to fill out all of our shift opportunities. The Transition2Work® program has helped to provide us with the hands we need to help the community we love.
How To Find Food & Resources
Feeding Tampa Bay has a variety of food assistance options available to their 10-county network. Services include:
- Mobile grocery locations – View the Calendar to find your nearest neighborhood site, free of charge.
- Food pantries – With over 400 pantry partners across Tampa Bay, find your nearest one with a quick search.
- Benefits assistance – See if you qualify for a FoodPlus program like SNAP, Medicaid, and WIC or find other resources in your area.
- Job training programs – Apply to join FRESHforce and earn a stipend while gaining certifications and hands-on experience in the Warehouse, Culinary, and CDL Driving industries.
You can find out more about each service when you visit feedingtampabay.org/findfood. For anymore questions regarding these services or resources, Feeding Tampa Bay’s FAQ section has the answer.