On Sunday, March 23, thousands of people from local churches will be challenged to leave their pews with grocery lists in hand and shop at participating Publix supermarkets. Thirty-two churches in the Tampa Bay area are gearing up to help collect 150,000 lbs. of food to restock the shelves of 15 local food banks. Over the past eight years, Feed the Bay has collected and distributed back into the community’s food agencies approximately 1,179,250 lbs. of food.
“2014 marks the fourth year of our partnership with Advance Auto Parts,” said Feed the Bay coordinator, Melanie Langston. “We were contacted by an area district commercial sales manager looking for a way to serve together as a company. Through Feed the Bay and Advance Auto parts, we have been able to cast the vision of Feed the Bay to churches outside our immediate area.”
Some of the organizations that stand to benefit from the event are Emergency Help Care Organization (ECHO), the Women’s Resource Center and the Nativity Outreach Food Bank to name just a few. All businesses and individuals are invited to join in this community-wide cooperative effort. Volunteers are needed for loading and unloading trucks as well as assisting at the food banks or supermarkets.
Shopping lists will be available on Sunday, March 23 from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. at participating stores. The participating Brandon Publix locations are 1220 Kingsway Rd., 855 E. Bloomingdale Blvd. and 939 W. Brandon Blvd. For a complete list of participating Publix supermarket locations, go to feedthebay.org and click on ‘Resources’ at the top of the page and look for ‘Promotional Items,’ then click on ‘2014 Store List.’
Individuals not in town during the event may purchase supermarket gift cards or donate monetarily by bringing cash or checks to either the church office or information center now until the event. Checks should be made payable to Bay Life Church. Cash should be placed in a tithe envelope and clearly marked Feed the Bay.
Feed the Bay was started by Bay Life Church in Brandon in 2006. Local businesses and churches of Brandon and Tampa came together to shop, collect and supply for the community agencies. Now, nine years later, area churches throughout the county are united with conjoined efforts to Feed the Bay. For more information or to sign up to volunteer, visit feedthebay.org.