“Starting with Saturday, August 26, Our Lady’s Pantry will only be able to distribute food to those families in the group designated for that week,” says Pantry director Tom Bullaro.
“We deeply regret this change, but our lines are so long and we don’t have the help we need to distribute food to everyone each week,” he says. “We were short at least 10 people outside on Saturday, August 5. Finding enough volunteers to work long hours in the Florida heat has been an ongoing challenge.”
According to Bullaro, Our Lady’s Pantry has been serving hundreds of individuals and families for more than 20 years by dividing them into two groups, who would come on alternate Saturdays to receive food.
The Pandemic changed everything, however. During this period of great hardship for many, Bullaro told families that if they really needed food in between their regular week, they should come and we would help.
“Our lines have become too long, however,” he says. “We simply cannot manage the crowds with our limited number of helpers.
“We are also struggling to have enough food for increasing numbers of people. We used to get much of our food from Feeding Tampa Bay. But they are caring for hundreds of pantries in Central Florida and have little for us anymore. That means our drivers must be on the road almost every day of the week buying food and picking up donations from all over the County."
Bullaro asks that from now on families only come for food on the week they are supposed to come.
If you need more food in between weeks, consider going to St. Anne’s Pantry or Angel’s Attic, both in Ruskin, or Beth-el in Wimauma. Or check out Feeding Tampa Bay for other pantries that may be able to help you and your loved ones. https://www.feedingtampabay.org/
“Again, we deeply regret that we can no longer serve you every single week,” Bullaro says.