Kaye Prox Food Bank
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NEWS...

                               

SERVING THE HOMELESS

Hillsborough County is no longer in first place and that’s a good thing. Until last year, our county led Florida in the number of homeless. By 2014, we dropped to 5th place. But, the Tampa-St. Petersburg Metro area still has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the nation. The homeless in the Town ‘n Country area may not always be visible but they live nearby. The Kaye Prox Food Bank is one of the organizations that helps make the lives of these men and women a little easier.

For many years John Prox, husband of Kaye Prox, the late founder of the food bank, devoted much of his time each week helping organize the food bank, keeping its shelves filled, but especially working to provide timely help to the homeless. His efforts affected many who came to the food bank. One heart-warming example is the result of his idea to provide holiday cards to send to family members. With John’s encouragement, one homeless man finally mailed a Christmas card to his family, initiating the first contact in several years.

In 2010, John was awarded the Good Samaritan Award by Lutheran Services for his work with the Kaye Prox Food Bank, and especially the homeless.


This spring when John decided to relax a little and spend less time at the food bank, Sharon Jones, a long-time volunteer, stepped up to coordinate the food bank’s services for the homeless. In a recent interview, she talked about her experiences helping the homeless at the Kaye Prox Food Bank. Here are excerpts from the interview.

To read the full interview with Sharon, click here.

How many homeless individuals does the food bank serve?
About 50.

What are the demographics of our homeless?
The ages run from 18 to 64 and we see more males than females. Some are very well educated but have trouble finding jobs because of their ages. Others have medical issues that also make employment difficult. There are quite a few homeless that come in with relatives and, at times, entire families with a couple of kids in tow.

What are their living conditions?
Living accommodations vary. Quite a few live in “camps” and tend to look after one another. Some are lucky and have friends who will take them in for a while. Others are not so lucky and sleep wherever they can find a dry and safe spot. There are a few that sleep in vehicles. Very few stay in weekly motels, as most do not have the resources.

What services does the food bank offer the homeless?
Mostly what we offer our homeless is food, an ear to listen, a place to get mail, and when needed, bus passes. We also give them personal care items and basic clothing. We work with a Hillsborough County Sheriff's resource officer to help the homeless get IDs, housing, etc. We post job openings and have a list of other available resources.

Are there any success stories?

Oh yes, we have success stories. One guy was homeless for some time, but caught a break, worked construction for a while and was able to get an apartment. He started his own construction company and now regularly makes contributions to our food bank in appreciation for all we did for him when he had nothing and no where to turn. There are similar stories, some as simple as getting to a job interview with our help, landing the job and becoming self-sufficient.

In what way(s) can food bank supporters help the homeless we serve?
Let me first say, "there but for the grace of God, go I." Put yourself in their position. Many, for no reason in their control, find themselves homeless. Suddenly, they are without safe living conditions--no food, no bed, no running water.... They are lacking the simplest of things - toilet paper, insect repellent, dry socks/shoes, sunblock, water, soap, and women’s hygiene products. Some don't even have a can opener! These items, and things like t-shirts and backpacks, are really needed. They don't have to be new, just in usable condition.

Anything else?
If more people realized that many homeless are not on the street by choice, and that any one of us could join their ranks, perhaps they'd be more compassionate. There are many wonderful people out there. ...God bless them all!

To read the full interview with Sharon, click here






 Welcome to Kaye Prox Food Bank                   "God's people helping God's people."

The Kaye Prox Food Bank, located in Town 'n Country in Tampa, Florida, is an all-volunteer ecumenical organization dedicated to providing emergency food to families in need and to the elderly and homeless in the community.


THE FOOD BANK IS NOW ON FACEBOOK

You can now follow the Kaye Prox Food Bank on Facebook. We'll be posting upcoming events as well as emergency needs.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS and EVENTS

           COUNTDOWN TO SUCCESS




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COUNTDOWN TO SUCCESS

  • 377 children and teens ready to start school with brand new backpacks filled with school supplies
  • 50 individuals and organizations donating funds, backpacks and supplies
  • 47 youth and adults volunteering 300+ hours
  • 5 churches partnering to get the word out
  • 2 dedicated teens coordinating the project
  • 1 OUTSTANDING KAYE PROX FOOD BANK SCHOOL SUPPLY PROJECT

This year we were able to provide 40% more backpacks and supplies than in past years. Thanks to everyone who supported our annual effort to help ensure that the students in our families have what they need to start school ready to learn.

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