By Kathy Collins

For many in Eastern Hillsborough County, Thanksgiving and Christmas are not an easy time of the year as they struggle to put food on the table for their families. But thanks to companies such as Mosaic, hundreds in our area will be able to enjoy a holiday meal complete with a turkey.

For a third year, Mosaic has stepped up and provided funding to Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) of Brandon so that turkeys could be given to families in need during the 2014 Brandon Gift of Hope. In addition, 10 employees from Mosaic volunteered their time last month to help distribute the turkeys.

ECHO is the lead agency for the 2014 Gift of Hope, an outreach event sponsored by area churches to help those in need during Thanksgiving and Christmas. ECHO is charged with the task of obtaining funding to purchase and deliver 1,300 turkeys. According to Stacey Efaw, ECHO’s CEO, “This is a daunting challenge which would not be possible without the support and funding from Mosaic.”

According to Christine Smith, Mosaic’s public affairs manager, “Mosaic is very active in the community and one of our focus areas for giving is agriculture, which includes hunger issues. We partner with several local food banks to emphasize our mission, ‘We help the world grow the food it needs’. We know that one in four children in the Tampa Bay area are food-insecure, so helping to solve the hunger issue is important to Mosaic and our employees at the holidays and every day.”

Providing food for so many families during the holidays is huge undertaking, and it requires many people, agencies and companies working together. Smith said, “The Mosaic Company is proud that so many of our employees accept leadership and volunteer opportunities in the community. Our employees are very generous with their time, talent and efforts.”

Mosaic is active throughout the year. It supports school backpack programs and mobile pantries which help get food to those in need. It has presented two Hunger Forum conferences which brought together national, state and local leaders in an effort to build awareness and discuss important hunger issues. Mosaic partners with The Tampa Bay Lightning’s “Goals for Food” and the Tampa Bay Rays’ “Home Runs for Food” where $500 is donated to food bank partners for every goal/home run during the regular season.

For more information on Mosaic, visit www.mosaicco.com. For information on ECHO and Gift of Hope, visit wwwechofl .org and www.brandongiftofhope.com.