Brandon Regional Hospital’s Jill Lansky volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries’ holiday tent.

In 2020, Jill Lansky volunteered at Metropolitan Ministries’ holiday tent. After volunteering with the nonprofit organization based out of Tampa, Lansky felt compelled to find a way to provide more substantial food to families in need.

“I spend time volunteering … and it warmed my heart to pack boxes with food for families that are struggling in our community,” said Lansky.

Lansky spent all of 2021 searching for someone who could provide 1,000 pounds of potatoes for struggling families. She remembered that one of her family friends, Zach Hawkins, a Bloomingdale High School graduate, manages a potato farm in South Carolina.

With the help of Hawkins, Lansky was able to get in contact with Walther Farms, who was willing to donate the potatoes. The only problem was that she had to find a way to pick up 1,000 pounds of potatoes.

“As luck would have it, Zach was traveling to Tampa at the time [and] they were ready and delivered the donated potatoes himself,” said Lansky. “I am so grateful and proud of Zach and for his hand in giving back to his hometown.”

Lansky was able to help nearly 300 families with the potatoes by donating a large bag to feed each family. A year after the initial idea, Lansky and Hawkins distributed the potatoes through Metropolitan Ministries’ holiday tent in December of 2021 to registered clients, who received a food box and toys for their children alongside the potatoes.

“I saw a need to provide something substantial that would give families more on their dinner plates. I thought potatoes would be the perfect food. There are so many ways to prepare them, and they fill bellies,” explained Lansky.

When Lansky is not volunteering with Metropolitan Ministries, which she has been doing for five years, she is working as the director of business development at Brandon Regional Hospital. Lansky helped start the mentor program for women through Metropolitan Ministries’ residential program during her time volunteering as well.

For more information on Metropolitan Ministries, contact 209-1000 or visit its website at metromin.org. For more information on how to volunteer, visit their website to fill out the interest form or contact volunteer@metromin.org.

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Lily Belcher is a writer for The Osprey Observer and Christian Voice Monthly. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey since completing her internship. Lily plans to attend the University of South Florida and major in Communications while writing for The Oracle.