TAMPA, Fla. - The Community Food Pantry started out as a few items of food on a shelf in a pastor’s office at Village Presbyterian Church in 2008 and has grown into a program that feeds nearly 50,000 people a year.
"The Community Food Pantry is a client choice food pantry," explained Community Food pantry Director Monica Wilson. "We allow our clients to come in and shop just like they are at the grocery store."
The clients start by shopping for produce and picking out breads and desserts.
Then they move on to the actual pantry room, where they will get their shelf staples, fresh meats, dairy products, fresh-cut fruits, sandwiches and salads.
"Most of our clients are coming to our pantry are the working poor,” Wilson said. “Someone in the household has income or employment but they just can't stretch their dollars."
The Community Food Pantry is open twice a week and many of its clients are senior citizens.
“It’s a beautiful thing to be able to pass that grace and dignity on to others who just need a hand up,” said Wilson.
The program partners with Feeding Tampa Bay and a lot of the groceries are donated by local grocery stores.