ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A food pantry is taking a bite out of hunger. It all started with one man's desire to help the homeless.
Paul Venti transformed his garage into a basket-building workshop.
The baskets contain non-perishable food items, providing much-needed nutrition to the homeless population in Pinellas County
"I give them canned ravioli, I give them pudding, I give them some snacks, we got cereal in here, we have some milk," Venti said, going through one of the baskets.
The 67-year-old retired plumber takes food to homeless camps in Pinellas County. He says the need is overwhelming.
"I could go to one camp right now and feed 35 people in one camp, three miles from here," he said.
Venti goes out three times a week and spends about $800 a month on the project. He's fed more than 1,000 people in two years.
"It's the right thing to do," he said. "It breaks my heart when I see a little kid come out of the woods with their mother."
Venti says he wants to give them more than food. He also hopes to feed their souls.
"What I try to do is listen to their stories and I give them hope. I look into their eyes. We sit down and I break bread with them. We'll get pizzas and I will sit down and talk," he said.
In return, his heart is full.
"It gives me inner peace and it makes me feel good to be able to give back," he said.
Venti sells pins to help cover the cost of the food. For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.