Our Lady’s Pantry has stayed open during the Pandemic thanks to Feeding Tampa Bay, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, tremendous community support — “and Nativity Outreach in Brandon and Dover,” says Pantry director Tom Bullaro.
Nativity Food Pantry and Food Bank, in fact, had its origin with a dream of Sister Constance Arsenault back in 1983. At that time, Sister organized a program enabling the hungry to be served with dignity, through a program sensitive to their needs. This ministry remains vibrant today, currently serving almost 5,000 families in the Brandon//Valrico area.
Importantly, Sister’s dream has evolved in ways she never expected, leading to the construction of a new Food Bank being built in Dover. This Food Bank, a Diocesan effort, is made possible by tens of thousands of dollars in donations from parishes and non-profit groups throughout the Diocese.
Nativity Food Bank is supplying a satellite system of small food pantries and street ministries that radiate from Nativity Catholic Church throughout Hillsborough County. In fact, this Food Bank currently supplements 48 small pantries and street ministries. This ministry also aids orphans and foster care services, homeless veterans, and others.
According to Father Tapp, who serves as pastor of Nativity Catholic Church, well over 2 million pounds of food were distributed through this Food Bank in 2020.
“Our Lady’s Program is among the beneficiaries of this ministry,” Bullaro says. “In fact, we receive about 75 boxes of food each week from the Nativity Food Bank for a donation.
“This is just one more example of people helping people. We are so grateful for all the food we receive from this resource week after week.”🍎