100 Who Care Valencia Lakes recently presented a check to Our Lady’s Pantry. The amount was later increased from $5,800 to $8,700 thanks to a matching grant.

Our Lady’s Pantry is a food bank known to many in Southeastern Hillsborough County. As it enters its 25th year of operation, the need is greater than ever. The pantry relies on generous donations and volunteers from the community to continue to serve its residents.

In 2023, food alone cost a stunning $105,243.51. This doesn’t take into account operating expenses such as fuel and truck maintenance and administrative needs.

Recently, Our Lady’s Pantry received a few generous donations to help continue operations.

The Interfaith Council donated a $10,000 gift for food needs through its Interfaith Council Social Action Committee (ISAC).

“All of us at Our Lady’s Pantry wish to thank the Interfaith Council Social Action Committee for their continued support,” said director Tom Bullaro. The partnership with the ISAC began in 2008, and to date it has donated $160,000.

The Pyse Family Foundation recently donated a gift of $1,000 as well.

“Our Lady’s Pantry is grateful to the Kennard L. and Barbara J. Pyse Family Foundation for their gift of $1,000 for food,” said Bullaro. “We are seeing an average 500 clients coming to our drive-through every two weeks. We are so appreciative of this gift,” he continued.

Our Lady’s Pantry also thanked the Florida Medical Clinic (FMC) Foundation of Caring for its generous gift of $10,000.

“Too many people in our community don’t know the source of their next meal,” Bullaro explained. “This gift by the FMC Foundation of Caring will provide food relief and hope to our brothers and sisters, both those living alone, and those with lots of family around the dinner table.”

100 Who Care Valencia Lakes also recently selected Our Lady’s Pantry as the recipient of its quarterly nonprofit donation. The original donation was $5,800, but after finding a 50 percent matching grant for the funds raised, the group was able to present Our Lady’s Pantry with an $8,700 check.

The pantry has grown to operate as a full-time business but is still an all-volunteer charity.

“We are hoping to identify volunteers comfortable with the latest technology who can work alongside our managers,” said Bullaro. “Learn what each person does and serve as backup, lending a hand when needed.”

Some immediate needs are:

  • Diesel mechanics to serve in an advisory capacity, helping to keep the pantry’s trucks on the road every week.
  • Technical and administrative work.
  • Computer specialists proficient in Excel, WordPress and Pages.
  • Grant writers to raise money for food and other necessities.
  • Journalists to write pantry stories for its website and newspapers.

To volunteer, donate or learn more, visit www.ourladyspantry.com or call Bullaro at 813-741-2000.

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