A YEAR OF CHALLENGES AND BLESSINGS
2013 was a year of challenges and blessings.
The biggest challenge was keeping the shelves stocked and providing food to all the families and individuals who came to us for help. Who could have predicted last January that by the end of the year, the food bank would be serving nearly 50% more families? Although during the past several years the numbers have generally increased, 2013 showed a steep rise. This year we distributed nearly 235,000 pounds of food to the homeless and during 6,265 family visits.
There were times that the shelves were close to empty but blessings abounded. In May, we received a grant from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. The Healthy Summer grant allowed us to provide fresh fruits, vegetables and eggs for every family visit all summer long.
Healthy Summer Project
Feeding America Mobile Pantry
We purchased the other 50% of the food from Feeding America or local stores. With the numbers of families increasing, by the end of September, it looked like we could run out of cash before the end of the year. Again the blessings flowed. In October, we received a Food Pantry Grant from the Reformed Church in America, in November, award-winning concert pianist, Sylvanna Fraga. shared the magic of her artistry in concert to benefit the Kaye Prox Food Bank, and in December both Thrivent Financial and World of Westchase awarded grants to the food bank. We also initiated monthly dine-out nights at favorite restaurants. Thanks to these grants, fund-raisers and close to 100 individuals, churches, and organizations, we were able to meet the needs of our families all year long.
Our supporters stepped up to meet another challenge. When the focus of the Glazer Foundation’s Buc-Packs program changed so the food bank was no longer a recipient, we wondered how we could distribute enough stocked backpacks. After putting the call out, generous donations of backpacks and school supplies arrived almost daily during the end of July and the beginning of August. We ended up being able to give out more than 250 backpacks to very happy kids!
New Backpacks = Happy Kids!
The year ended with a final blessing. Food bank volunteers spent dozens of hours collecting, organizing and packing extra food items and personal care items into holiday gift bags for each each family or homeless person who came to the food bank before Christmas. What a wonderful way to end 2013!
This year the Kaye Prox Food Bank is participating in the annual Feinstein $1 Million Challenge to Fight Hunger. For the 17th consecutive year, Alan Shawn Feinstein, a philanthropist from Rhode Island, will divide $1 million among non-profit hunger fighting agencies nationwide. From March 1 through April 30, any funds or food (counted as $1.00 per pound or item) donated directly to the food bank and designated for the challenge will be partially matched. Although hundreds of agencies will participate, the food bank will receive a minimum of $250 from the Feinstein Foundation.
It is easy to participate and support the food bank. Just include “For Feinstein Challenge” on any check you send to the food bank in March or April or include a note with the same information for donations of cash. Your donations during these two months will make you a partner in the most successful ongoing grassroots effort ever to fight hunger!
For additional information about The Alan Shawn Feinstein Foundation and the 2014 17th Annual $1 Million Giveaway to Fight Hunger go to http://www.feinsteinfoundation.org/index.htm
VILLAGE INN CONTINUES TO GIVE BACK
Thanks to everyone who helped make the January Dine Out event at the Village Inn a success.
But, even if you didn't have a chance to enjoy their wonderful meals on January 9th, you can still support the food bank anytime you visit the Village Inn in Town 'n Country. Keep your receipts and bring or mail them to the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour office. Each quarter when we submit the receipts, Village Inn donates 10% of the total to the food bank. Note that the cost of meals purchased with Senior Discounts or coupons cannot be included.