“Thanks to The Emergency Food assistance Program (TEFAP), Our Lady's Pantry is receiving more than 8,000 additional pounds of food to share with folks every month,” says Tom Bullaro.
Bullaro, who is co-director of Our Lady's Pantry, explains that TEFAP, which falls under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is part of a long-term disaster recovery plan from Hurricane Irma.
“This additional food, which is being distributed through Feeding Tampa Bay, started arriving in February.
“We will receive another 8,000 pounds of non-perishable foods every month until July,” he says. “We are thrilled at this bounty. These deliveries ensure that the boxes we distribute each Saturday morning will be full and our clients in need of food will not go hungry.”
The USDA food distribution program has long been in place to help strengthen the Nation's nutrition safety net with high quality 100 percent American grown foods. USDA foods typically include staples such as cereal, macaroni and cheese, beef stew, pasta, canned and dried fruits and vegetables such as black beans and spaghetti sauce.
According to Bullaro, this TEFAP delivery piggybacks on the food supply the Pantry already has — thanks to donations from countless individuals.
If you need extra groceries and live in Balm, Wimauma, or Sun City Center, please be sure to stop in some Saturday morning for a big box of food. Kindly bring along some proof of your address, such as an electric bill, the first time you come. You will be given a Pantry Identification (ID) Card to bring with you on future Saturday mornings.
The way it works is that you will be assigned to one of two groups, who come for food on alternate Saturdays between 7:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. When you arrive, you simply show your ID card, sign in, and you will be given a ticket for food. You get your car and drive up to our porch and hand our volunteer your ticket. He will then load a big box of food into your car.
In addition to non-perishable foods from TEFAP and other sources, we can usually provide frozen meats, bread and baked goods, and often fresh produce as well.
“We look forward to meeting you one day soon,” says Bullaro. “Please don't hesitate to come if you are short of nutritious food. We are here for you!”