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Impact Story August 15, 2023

Feeding Tampa Bay: Hunger Relief Center

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. 

The new facility will be a major asset to the region, supporting the estimated one million people in the 10-county region centered around Tampa Bay that are still food insecure. Annually, Feeding Tampa Bay is expected to serve over 800k unique individuals, employ 181 FTEs, and distribute 150 million meals.  

A big push in the new space is to bring more fresh and healthy prepared meals to support 12 existing programs that address the needs of community members. Among them: 

  • Feeding Minds Pantry opens food pantries at schools with high food insecurity. Currently distributes 1.2 million pounds per year; will increase to 1.9 million by year 7. 
  • Trinity Café is a free, full-service eatery for anyone in need of a meal, served to-go or eat-in, 365 days a year. Currently serving 127k meals annually; will increase to 459k by year 7. 
  • Fresh Food Distribution delivers fresh produce donated by local farmers to families every Saturday. Currently, the program serves 386,000 families and is expected to increase to 702,000 families yearly, the seventh year of the center’s opening.  
  • Frozen Meals Program allows community members to pick up frozen meals at an on-site pantry twice weekly. Currently, the program serves 126k meals and will increase to 195k by the seventh year of the center’s opening.  
  • After School Meals (and snacks) are provided through partners like Boys & Girls Clubs, churches, and after-school programs, currently, 1,128 kids are served, increasing to 1,438 by year 7. (81% of children served are BIPOC). 
  • Summer Feeding Program provides breakfast and lunch during the summer when school is not in session for children who rely on free meals during the school year. Currently serves 1,698 individuals; will increase to 2,298 by year 7. (81% of children served are BIPOC) 
  • Groceries-on-the-Go brings groceries directly into underserved areas for those challenged by food costs, mobility, and transportation. Currently, 496 families are served, increasing to 965 by year 7. 
  • FoodPlus staff at FTB’s Empowerment Centers help community members determine eligibility for SNAP benefits and supports them throughout the application process. Currently serves 26k individuals; will increase to 79k by year 7. 
  • Nutrition Nudges is a nutrition education offering food demonstrations at school pantries. Each session covers healthy eating and food safety. Currently holds 40 events per year; will increase to 480 by year 7. 
  • Nutrition Kitchen is a fully equipped mobile kitchen bringing cooking demos, taste tests, and recipes distributed at pantries for community members to learn new ways of cooking. Currently holds 109 classes annually; will increase to 423 by year 7. 
  • Food Rx Healing Bags are provided in collaboration with local hospitals and clinics at discharge, bringing nutrient-rich food to support healthier food choices. Currently, 527 individuals are served; this will increase to 1,027 by year 7. 

To learn more about our NMTC projects, click here.  

*Photo Credits: Feeding Tampa Bay

To learn more, contact:

Reema Fakih
Managing Director, National Lending

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