Nonprofit Mobilizes to Replace Lost School Meals Across Tampa Bay Area

Share:
Staffers and volunteers prepare free kid's meals as part of an initiative to provide for children while schools are closed during the pandemic, on March 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida.

Staffers and volunteers prepare free kid's meals as part of an initiative to provide for children while schools are closed during the pandemic, on March 23, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. (Martha Asencio Rhine/Tampa Bay Times)

Tina Buckner’s fiance was laid off last week from his job as a metal fabricator because of the coronavirus. He was told not to come back.

Now, the stay-at-home mom is scrambling to find work and struggling to feed her sons, Hunter, 6, and Grayson, 2.

“We need help, mostly with food,” said Buckner, 29. “I can’t even afford wipes and the shelves are empty.”

Before the coronavirus crisis, Hunter would get a free breakfast and lunch at school. But his was not one of just 23 Hillsborough schools giving out bagged breakfasts and lunches Monday on what would have been the first day of school after spring break.

That’s in a district where free meals are provided every school day to about two-thirds of students in the nation’s eighth-largest school district. It’s a similar story in Pinellas and Pasco counties where only a small number of schools were providing meal services.

To try and plug that gap, Feeding Tampa Bay on Monday opened 17 meal centers across the Tampa Bay area and prepped to give out about 4,000 meals. The venues operated like a drive-through with families able to pick up either lunch or dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast for every kid in their car. It comes at a time when food pantries have reported donations of unsold food from grocery stores have fallen by as much as 80 percent after the coronavirus prompted panic buying.

Continue reading on Tampa Bay Times.


Christopher O'Donnell, Staff Writer, Tampa Bay Times

Jeffrey S. Solochek, Tampa Bay Times

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Cheat Codes: Students Search For Shortcuts as Virtual Schooling Expands
Cheating has always been an issue in schools, but there is little getting in the way for students today. Shared answers have become even more accessible as districts have adopted or expanded their use of popular online learning programs.
October 23, 2020
As Purdue Pharma Agrees to Settle with the DOJ, Revisit Its Role in the Opioid Crisis
The proposed $8.3 billion settlement between Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin, and the federal government is the latest in a battle over who is responsible for the nation’s opioid crisis, as covered by FRONTLINE in "Chasing Heroin" and "Opioids, Inc."
October 21, 2020
With Election 2020 Underway, a Key Provision of the Voting Rights Act Languishes
Against the backdrop of a pandemic and a divisive presidential election, legislation to restore key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, following the landmark 2013 Supreme Court 2013 decision Shelby v. Holder, remains locked in Congress.
October 21, 2020
We Investigated 'Whose Vote Counts.' Our Findings Unfold Tonight.
A note from our executive producer about the new documentary 'Whose Vote Counts,' premiering Oct. 20.
October 20, 2020