Food insecurity is a growing problem, especially among populations that are traditionally not affected by it. Today, the need is great, so food pantries such as Our Lady of Guadalupe in Wimauma serve an ever-greater need.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Food Pantry provides much-needed food to residents living in Sun City Center, Wimauma, Balm, Ruskin, Riverview, Apollo Beach or Gibsonton. The food is provided every Saturday from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Clients receive a box containing bread, produce, meat, dairy items (including milk) and paper products.
Our Lady of Guadalupe currently serves approximately 350 families per week. It simply requires some type of identification which demonstrates that the individual and/or family live within one of the cities it serves. However, Our Lady of Guadalupe never turns anyone away and will provide a bag of food.
Once an individual or family is registered, they are given either a pink or yellow card, which thereafter is presented to show that residency has been verified. Families can come every other week to receive food assistance. If someone comes on an off day because they have a dire need, they are given a bag of food.
Our Lady of Guadalupe uses a drive-through method for food distribution. Clients stay in their car as they receive their food assistance.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Food Pantry is an all-volunteer organization. It receives donations on Tuesday and Friday from 8 a.m.-12 Noon. The volunteers are on-site on Saturdays from 6:30-11 a.m. Its volunteers are older, having 50 in their 80s and two in their 90s, and it is always in need of more volunteers.
Tom Bullaro, who has been with the food pantry for 22 years and has been its director for 18 of those years, said, “We are thankful to all of the stores that donate. They help us to keep going.”
Our Lady of Guadalupe gets food from Feeding Tampa Bay and picks up donations from stores like Aldi. It has three refrigerated trucks and an impressive food storage area complete with walk-in refrigerators.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Food Pantry is located at 16650 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. in Wimauma. For more information, please visit www.ourladyspantry.com.