According to the 2017 Homeless Count in Hillsborough County, there are at least 1,549 homeless men, women and children in Tampa-Hillsborough County nightly who are sleeping on the streets, behind buildings, in encampments, in cars, emergency shelters and transitional housing (http://thhi.org/about-homelessness).
With homelessness comes food insecurity which is affecting about one in four children and one in six adults in the Tampa Bay area, according to Feeding Tampa Bay. That is thousands of people who often do not know where they are going to get their next meal. Antonia Mason (Girl Scout Troop 268) has selected food insecurity among the homeless as her root cause for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.
She helped establish a Little Free Pantry at Hyde Park. The Little Free Pantry movement began in 2016. The pantries are described as “a grassroots, crowd-sourced solution to an immediate and local need. Whether a need for food or a need to give, the Little Free Pantry facilitates neighbors helping neighbors, building community.” (littlefreepantry.org).
On Dec. 16, 2018, a Little Free Pantry was created at the Madison Building located at 401 S. Magnolia Ave. This pantry will be accessible 24/7. Please consider dropping off non-perishable food items, preferably those not requiring heating or a can opener. Here are some suggested non-perishable food items:
- Single serving peanut butter and/or jelly
- Pop tarts
- Granola and other snack bars
- Protein bars
- Vienna sausages
- Canned or packaged meats, such as tuna, salmon, turkey and chicken
- Snack bags such as crackers and peanut butter, crackers and cheese
- Beef jerky
- Slim Jims
- Hard candy
- Breath mints
- Rice Krispy Treats
- Nuts in re-sealable containers
- Dried fruits in re-sealable containers
- Canned fruit and fruit cups
- Trail mix
- Drinks such as Capri Sun, water, juice
- Plastic utensils
- Napkins or hand wipes/sanitizer