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Free Clinic aims to make St. Pete Hunger Free

Free Clinic aims to make St. Pete Hunger Free

By Shaina Bent

Every year, more than 400 local community leaders, executives and community members come together for an event called Hunger Free to raise awareness about the prevalence of hunger in the Tampa Bay community.

Many are surprised to learn just how many people are impacted by hunger. One in four kids in Pinellas County is chronically hungry, and many seniors are forced to make difficult choices between buying nutritious food or paying for necessities like medication, housing or utilities.

The St. Petersburg Free Clinic provides food assistance to more than 50,000 of its neighbors in south and mid-Pinellas County each month.

Hunger Free on Oct. 6 benefits the Free Clinic’s food assistance programs that address local hunger. Some of those programs include:

  • We Help Services, which provides emergency food assistance to Pinellas County residents,
  • Jared S. Hechtkopf Community Food Bank, a 14,000-square-foot food warehouse that collects and distributes more than 4 million pounds of food each year, and
  • Pack-a-Sack, a program that feeds 1,000 local children by providing food-filled backpacks for nourishment when school is out of session for the weekend or during breaks.

Those who would like to help the Free Clinic’s efforts to fight hunger in our community can participate in the Feed the Need Challenge during the month of September, which is Hunger Action Month. The organization that collects the most pounds of non-perishable food items will be named the 2017 Hunger Hero.

Feed the Need is open to all organizations, even if they are unable to attend Hunger Free. All non-perishable food items must be collected by Sept. 29. The donations will then be weighed to determine which organization donated the most pounds of food.

Hunger Free takes place Friday, Oct. 6 at 11:45 a.m. at the St. Petersburg Coliseum, 535 4th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. Attendees will participate in a short workshop to better understand the tough choices low-income families have to face everyday, and each attendee will receive a snack pack for lunch. To purchase tickets or learn more about sponsorship opportunities, please visit https://stpetersburgfreeclinic.org.

For more information or to sign up for the Feed the Need Challenge, please contact Kaitlynne Silvers at 727.821.1200 ext. 114 or kaitlynne.silvers@stpetersburgfreeclinic.org.

Shaina Bent is the Director of Food Programs at St. Petersburg Free Clinic. The Free Clinic is a multi-service, independent, not-for-profit human services agency providing neighbors in need assistance with food, shelter and health care since 1970. The Free Clinic opened a new 14,000-square-foot food distribution center in 2017 for its 60 partner organizations. Find out more about St. Petersburg Free Clinic at www.StPetersburgFreeClinic.org.