Reinvestment Fund financing is supporting the construction of a new Hunger Relief Center in Tampa, FL, that will address food insecurity and serve as a community hub and hands-on job training center for community members seeking meaningful employment.
Feeding Tampa Bay (FTB) America Inc is a top 20 food bank in the Feeding America network. For more than 35 years, FTB has impacted the entire food relief system in the region through 500 hunger relief and 600 business partners. Through these partnerships, grocery distribution, a café, a food as medicine prescription program, and disaster relief, Feeding Tampa Bay has served 95 million meals to hundreds of thousands of community members annually.
FTB has set a goal of eliminating hunger by 2025 in Tampa Bay and serving as a conveyor towards self-sufficiency by offering a training program to people who may not be on the pathway toward long-term, stable employment. A new 215,000 sq ft Hunger Relief Center, serving ten counties in West Central Florida, including areas that are considered severely distressed, will help the organization reach its goal. Feeding Tampa Bay provides coordinated services and training—all in one place. At the Hunger Relief Center, community members can access medical care, financial benefits, and grocery and restaurant services.
Reinvestment Fund provided over $14 million in source financing in conjunction with New Markets Tax Credit financing for the construction of the Hunger Relief Center. The facility, which broke ground in February 2023, will serve as a hub for food distribution, workforce development, a community store, and other critical services to address the root causes of food insecurity and poverty. The NMTC financing has played a critical role in preventing further project delays. Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) also co-lent alongside the Reinvestment Fund.
The center will be the largest social services capital project in Tampa Bay’s history. The two-story facility will have sufficient space for dry, cold, and freezer storage, enlarged space for workforce volunteers, a larger, more productive culinary kitchen and food processing area, five separate meeting rooms for classes and other training, a large community all-purpose room, three partner workstations, and a community store all on the lower level. The upper level will primarily be administrative space for FTB employees and includes a public venue.
The Hunger Relief Center will enable FTB to expand FRESHForce’s workforce development program by 300%. Under this 8-week training program targeting people who may not otherwise have a pathway to long-term, stable income at a living wage can upskill and receive training in areas such as delivery driving, warehouse/logistics, culinary arts, and barista. The program expects to train 700 trainees per year in the new facility. When filling vacancies at Feeding Tampa Bay, FRESHForce graduates are prioritized first.