Our Lady’s Pantry has had two trucks picking up food since 2016. But did you notice that our smaller truck is not the same as the one on the road since 2008? Instead, it is a newer model used truck (2015). Importantly, it is refrigerated.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Feeding Tampa Bay both require that any food being transported from place to place be refrigerated to keep it safe. For this reason, Our Lady’s Pantry recently replaced their original box truck that was not refrigerated, with this new refrigerated vehicle.
“Donations that we receive for food are used only for food,” says director Tom Bullaro. “For this reason, we borrowed money to pay for this truck.”
According to Bullaro, this second truck cost $30,000, plus our old trade in. He has already received two checks totally $10,300 from one donor, plus another $500 from a second donor to help pay for this truck. The total monies still outstanding are $19,200.
If you wish to send the Pantry a donation, kindly indicate if we may use your gift to pay for our truck and other operational costs. Or do you prefer we use it only for food? Please make your check out to Our Lady’s Pantry and mail it to: 16650 U.S. Highway 301 South; Wimauma, Fl. 33598.
Bullaro points out that while the Pantry appears to be a small charity tucked away in one corner of Wimauma that simply distributes food every Saturday, this charity is a big business.
“We have bills to pay just like everyone else,” says Bullaro. “For example, the USDA requires that Pantries maintain a room temperature of 78 degrees or less, even to store non-perishable foods. Our cooler must be 35 degrees, our freezer 5 degrees. What this means is that our electric bill last year was a stunning — $10,013!
Further, fuel for our trucks cost $3,689. Insurance costs $1,666. And so on. Behind the scenes, running our small charity is expensive.
“Donations dedicated to general operating expenses, therefore, are always welcome,” says Bullaro. “As always, we thank you for your amazing support. You are our hunger heroes.”