How much food does the Pantry give away?

Our Lady’s Pantry currently distributes an average 350 bags of food every Saturday morning — and it takes a lot of food to fill those bags!

But where does that food come from?

And how much does it really take to fill the Pantry’s cooler, freezer, and shelves with all that food?

According to Pantry director Tom Bullaro, people sometimes ask him if he ever calculates how much food the Pantry gives away in a typical year.

“And so I just did that this week.  Combining the food we bring in from Feeding Tampa Bay, supermarkets and other venders, and individual donations, we estimate that we are bringing in — and therefore giving out —about 1,800,000 pounds of food in a typical year!

“That is roughly 900 tons of food needed to keep our shelves, and our cooler and freezer, stuffed with food, so we have plenty to distribute on Saturday mornings.”

Purchasing all this food would be impossible without the help of countless individuals, clubs, groups, and companies, he says, noting that the Pantry is something of a continuous care charity with donations coming from many sources.

“Just this week, in fact, Gone Stampin’, a Sun City Club, gave us a check for $800 for food,” he says.  “They have been giving us a check almost every year and we appreciate it so much.”

But they are not alone.  A list of all those who help support Our Lady’s Pantry is on the Pantry Web site at:

“We thank each of you for your care of us, whether individually, or through a club or other organization.  One way or another, your sacrifice is helping us to fight hunger in our community.

“Together, you have kept our doors open every Saturday for 23 years.  We have never been closed — not even during COVID.”