Community Food Bank Needs Deposits
By Renee Burrell
The Religious Community Services (RCS) Food Bank's wish list is very do-able for anyone wanting to give back to the community. Baby food, cereal, formula, juices, after school snacks for kids, boxed and canned food items, powdered milk, plastic and paper grocery bags are always needed, and especially now as the number of families requesting help has increased.
The food bank is mainly run by volunteers. One volunteer, Amy Maguire is going beyond her usual duties by holding an easy fundraiser to benefit the food bank.
Maguire is going to hold a neighborhood garage sale at her home and donate what she makes from selling home goods, clothing, children's items, baby seats, furniture, and rugs to the food bank. "There is no reason for a child to be hungry in this community. When I take our daughters to give food out at the pantry I am amazed at the children and their beautiful smiles."
Maguire plans to double the total amount she makes from the sale. "Our family is going to match whatever dollar that is raised."
Kathi Trautwein, RCS Director said, "We are currently serving an average of 90 families a day, which is up from about 70 last year, for a total of 4 to 5,000 people a month. Our food supplies come from a variety of places, including government grants, churches and individual donors, including those like Amy who organize food drives and fundraisers for our benefit."
Emergency food for those in need is for the asking, as there are no financial eligibility requirements, other than presenting a Social Security Card for each family member, proof of residence, a recent utility bill and a picture ID.
Families in need can come in twice a month and receive items like baby food, formula, bread, canned meats and vegetables---enough for 3-4 meals.
Government food is also available, but only once per month and does require financial information. Families need to bring in proof of their residence, a recent utility or phone bill, a picture ID, plus proof of income to receive government food.
Eighty-two congregations, two Jewish synagogues, Tampa Bay Harvest and numerous social service organizations fund the bank. "Many of our member congregations hold monthly food drives. We, also, are a recipient of foods from the annual Postal Carrier's Food Drive in May. We are the Pinellas County distributor for government commodities and distribute these foods at a variety of sites around the county," Trautwein explained.
"Our goal is to assist all people who are hungry. We are always in need of additional food supplies and volunteers. We have a small paid staff and could not function without our many dedicated volunteers. Several years ago we purchased the building we had been leasing and currently are in the process of remodeling this building and are looking for donors to assist in the cost of renovation. For further information people can call me at 443-4031"
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