Feeding Tampa Bay to build new headquarters that will offer more services to local families

Feeding Tampa Bay will build a new headquarters to keep up with the demanding needs of the community and offer more services to Bay Area families.

"Over the last 10 years, we have moved from 10 million meals a year to the community to last year we did over 90 million meals," said Thomas Mantz, the president and CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay.

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Mantz said they’ve done all they can to serve 10 counties in the current 100,000-square-foot rented facility, but he said it’s not enough.

"We cannot meet the needs of our community in the facility we're in," said Mantz. "Right now, particularly on fresh produce, we've had to turn away as much as 25 to 30% of the food made available to us."

So they are scaling up with plans to build a new 215,000-square-foot headquarters off Causeway Boulevard in Tampa. Mantz said the new facility will double their current storage capacity.

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"Seventy-five percent of the food that we provide to the community is perishable," Mantz said. "Today, only 14% of our storage is perishable. We'll solve that problem in a new facility."

The new facility will offer more than just food through the kitchens and community market. Mantz said food relief is a symptom of a bigger problem: Economic Instability.

So Feeding Tampa Bay’s new headquarters offers a different vision, offering classes and more healthcare access.

"Think about someone that might need financial literacy or consulting counseling. Those will all be onsite," said Mantz, who added that the food bank partners with BayCare Health Systems. "We have nurse practitioners that are here today, nursing students. We would expect that. In the future, we would expect to build out even further. You can also think about dental in the future."

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The current facilities are spread around town from kitchens for cooked meals to teaching classrooms. The new building will expand those services and bring it all under one roof. Mantz said the new building will also allow for larger classes for job training and other community services.

"We currently can graduate about 125 people a year in our job training program, and in our new facility we expect to expand that above 700 a year. That's economic impact. That's huge," said Mantz.

Feeding Tampa Bay said there will be a groundbreaking at the beginning of next year for the new headquarters. Mantz said they plan to dedicate 30% of the space for those community needs like job training, health clinic and classes. 

The new space will allow the non-profit to grow its volunteers from about 55,000 volunteers a year to about 90,000 volunteers a year.