Project SonrYsa Mobile Pantry and its volunteers at the Dover Boys & Girls Club.

A group of local residents is helping ease the troubles for those with food insecurities due to lasting results of the pandemic. They are doing this through Project SonrYsa, an extension to Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon’s Project Smile, which provides a backpack of food each weekend to students at Gibsonton Elementary School.

Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon Foundation President Mike Daigle shared the club’s mission.

“It is a global organization dedicated to improve the world one child, one community at a time,” Daigle said.

In 2017, Karisya Moran-Adames, who was at the time a senior at Riverview High School as well as the president of the Key Club, was awarded the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero of Tomorrow Award through the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation. She received a $50,000 grant, in which $25,000 of it went towards Project SonrYsa. The other $25,000 was for a scholarship for her education.

Throughout the years she remained connected with Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon and founded Project SonrYsa. Recently, Project SonrYsa partnered with Feeding Tampa Bay to implement mobile pantries in Eastern Hillsborough County at three select locations. The mobile pantries are free and open to the public.

Pantries occur once a month during a span of six months, with the last one in April. During December 2020’s mobile pantry at the Dover Boys & Girls Club, 5,700 pounds of food was distributed, impacting 84 families—totaling 349 people.

Families in need of food drive to the site, where volunteers place food items together based off of how many people are in the family and then load it into the vehicles. Volunteers consist of Kiwanis members, Key Club members and more.

Moran-Adames mentioned how she feels about the success with Project SonrYsa.

“I am beyond thankful for all the help that has been provided with this project,” Moran-Adames said.

The next mobile pantry will take place on Tuesday, January 26 at 4:30 p.m. in Brandon at Cornerstone Baptist Church.

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Tatiana Ortiz
Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.