A conceptual rendering of the United Food Bank of Plant City’s new home.

With its storage capacity too limited to serve the growing numbers of local residents in need, the United Food Bank and Services of Plant City (UFB) found itself in need of a larger facility to better serve them. Its Building Our Own Future Capital Campaign has raised $3 million, but there’s still much support needed to reach the $5 million necessary to fund its new home.

The food bank is temporarily located at Hillsborough Community College in a freestanding building at 2001 E. Cherry St. in Plant City as it prepares for the transition. The UFB expects to break ground for the new building soon, and it will take six to nine months to be completed. The new home will be located at the same address as the UFB’s old home: 702 E. Alsobrook St. in Plant City.

Once done, the food bank will have tripled in size, allowing it to have a larger warehouse and a loading dock that ensure acceptance of all food and supplies, whereas the limited space of the UFB’s old building forced it to turn away donations. It’ll also provide an education center and sustainability classes in English and Spanish as well as intake stations to find out what people really need and which places to refer them to if needed.

“When I came, six or seven years ago, we were serving about 1,200 people a month; now we’re doing over 10,000 people a month. We distribute almost 4 million pounds of food a year, and recently our numbers are … about 12 people per day that are brand-new, never been here before, and the face of the people we’re serving is different. … The high inflation is really making it difficult for people,” said Mary Heysek, executive director of the United Food Bank of Plant City.

The UFB will continue to support Plant City, Dover, Thonotosassa, Seffner, Bealsville, Brandon, Valrico, Lithia and Riverview.

If you’d like to help fund the final $2 million, visit www.ufbpc.org/building-our-future and select “Donate Here.” You can use a pledge card to make a contribution as well. In addition, there are naming rights opportunities for donors of UFB’s campaign, ranging from over $2,500, which earns a plaque on its Donor Wall, to $2 million, which earns the right to name the building.

To learn more, donate, or get a pledge card, please contact Heysek at mheysek@ufbpc.org, 813-763-4660 (cell) or 813-764-0625, ext. 5 (office).

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Taylor Wells
Taylor Wells is a relatively recently hired news reporter for the Osprey Observer, having been with the paper only since October 8, 2018. Aside from writing articles, he helps edit and upload them to the Osprey Observer site, and is always available to help other staff members in his spare time. He graduated from Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing and lives in Valrico.