Feed the Bay welcomes children to participate alongside a parent.

Since its inception in 2006, Feed the Bay has collected nearly two million pounds of food for pantries of local food banks and community agencies. The multi-church effort provides a practical way for area churches to demonstrate God’s love by serving as the Hands and Feet of Jesus. Feed the Bay will be held on Sunday, March 31 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. You can help fill the gap by replenishing pantries as a volunteer or shopper.

Feed the Bay partners with Publix Super Markets which offer shoppers a convenient grocery list with the requested food items. After the shopper purchases the food, volunteers are onsite to collect the food and load it onto trailers.

For the past nine years, Michelle (Flip) Filipowicz has looked forward to volunteering with Feed the Bay. She serves as a store coordinator at one of the Publix locations where she checks in the volunteers and acts as a liaison between church volunteers and store managers.

“We start the day in prayer and with an empty truck, but as one body of Christians, not several area churches,” explained Flip. “At the end of the day, we thank the Lord for the food and the hands that helped to fill the truck.”

Last year, Feed the Bay garnered 124,254 pounds of food from 15 Publix locations. The one-day community-wide effort included 31 church campuses and 12 community agencies, totaling 704 volunteers.

Every year, Janine Skipper also volunteers as a store coordinator and truck driver at one of the Publix collection locations. She reminisced about last year’s turnout despite the stormy weather.

“This past year we had a tornado touch down out in the Bay at the height of Feed the Bay,” said Skipper. “Even with the impending weather, the volunteers and parishioners came out in droves, and we had a full truck. Even through the storms—the wind and the rain, God’s people showed up and gave from their hearts.“

Volunteers are not only needed to load trucks at the Publix Super Markets but are necessary to drive the trailers as well as unload and sort the food at the local agencies. For those who wish to volunteer, you must be at least 14 years old, but children are welcome to participate alongside a parent. To volunteer or see a list of participating Publix Super Markets, churches and agencies, visit www.feedthebay.org.

If you are unable to participate during the event but still want to contribute, gift cards from any supermarket may be dropped off at the Bay Life Church office. For questions, contact Melanie Langston from Bay Life Church at mlangston@baylife.org.