As everyone has already noticed, the cost of food — and gas — have been soaring. “These increases affect the Pantry, too,” says Tom Bullaro.
Bullaro, who is director of the Pantry says “We are spending $500 a week, alone, on fuel for our trucks! Donations are down, too, so it is worrisome to pay these higher prices for both food and fuel, week after week.
“We would appreciate any help you can provide,” he says. “Every dollar adds up.”
Working together to help those in need
Most people don’t realize that the Pantry is not solely focused on her clients who come each Saturday morning for food. Instead, Our Lady’s Pantry works in conjunction with other pantries and ministries dedicated to feeding the hungry.
For example, Winn-Dixie provides food for Calvary Community Cupboard on Tuesdays. Because they don’t have a refrigerated truck to transport the food, Our Lady’s Pantry transports that food in our refrigerated truck to keep it safe.
Pantries also share donated fresh fruits, vegetables, and breads with one another to ensure they get used before they go bad. St. Anne’s shares its surplus with Our Lady’s Pantry on Fridays for distribution Saturday. Our Lady’s Pantry shares its surplus with Beth-el Ministries and other pantries that distribute food on Monday and Tuesday.
“And sometimes we get donations of huge cuts of meat that even our large families cannot use,” Bullaro says. “We donate these cuts to Street Angels Ministries from Ruskin and Apollo Beach, who cook meals for about 150 homeless men and women in the community. Their service is something like ‘meals on wheels,’ so people don’t go hungry.
“We are working with Operation Veterans Connect, too, sharing food and beverages with a number of homeless veterans in Tampa.
“To be clear, we are sharing only donated perishable foods — not the non-perishable food that we purchase or from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”
“Our Lady’s Pantry is a really big operation, and all of these efforts require extra money, time, and volunteers. In fact, we are hurting for volunteers — especially drivers for our trucks.”
In other words, Our Lady’s Pantry is something of a full-service charity dedicated to help fight hunger in and around Hillsborough County.
“We appreciate your help in our work of caring and loving people in need.”
Please send any donations to: Our Lady’s Pantry; 16650 U.S. Highway 301 South; Wimauma, Fl, 33598. If you wish your gift used only for food, can you kindly designate that on your check. If we may use your gift for fuel or other operating expenses, please designate that instead. To learn more about our non-profit, please visit us at: https://www.ourladyspantry.com
“And thank you.”