PSTA and Feeding Tampa Bay partner to help those in need

PSTA Vice-chair Joseph Barclay, who also is a Belleair Bluffs city commissioner, assists residents picking out food from the Feeding Tampa Bay mobile pantry on Dec. 3.

ST. PETERSBURG — Feeding Tampa Bay and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority are continuing their fight against hunger.

After a successful first event in July with nearly 200 people attending, the two organizations teamed up again to reach families in need during a second event Dec. 3 when Feeding Tampa Bay mobile food pantry set up at PSTA’s south staff parking lot in St. Petersburg. The goal was to share food with 250 families.

The Feeding Tampa Bay mobile pantry is a refrigerated truck that delivers shelf stable foods, dairy, meats, prepared meals and fresh produce at no charge to Tampa Bay residents in need. There is no charge, no qualifications or requests made with each attendee encouraged to “shop” for what is best served in their home. The goal is to provide nutritious foods to those in need with dignity and respect.

PSTA and Feeding Tampa Bay’s partnership is the first of its kind, with a focus on public transportation accessibility. At the first mobile food pantry, more than 70% of participants had never been to a food pantry before. More than 135,000 county residents struggle with food insecurity.

PSTA promoted the event heavily throughout bus routes and sent riders a text message to let them know about the mobile food pantry. Pantry shoppers received branded tote bags to carry home food (one per person).

Plans have been made for two additional Feeding Tampa Bay mobile food pantries at bus stop locations in 2020.

“At PSTA we continuously strive to make a difference in our community. As a transportation agency, we pride ourselves by getting to know our riders and take them where they need to be. We often hear and see their struggles firsthand and are excited to continue this great partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay to make our passengers and our community a healthier and happier place to live,” PSTA CEO Brad Miller said.