United Way of Central Florida receives $253,000 to expand the End Hunger Initiative to 17 Polk locations

Thanks to a $253,000 donation, what started as a twice a month mobile food pantry in Mulberry will become Polk County’s largest coordinated effort to reduce food insecurity.

United Way of Central Florida launched the End Hunger Initiative, in partnership with Feeding Tampa Bay, this summer at the Mulberry Community Service Center. This $253,000 donation from the George W. Jenkins Foundation and associated entities will expand the model to 16 additional food-insecure locations around Polk County.

In honor of this gift, the program will be renamed the George W. Jenkins End Hunger Initiative.

UWCF and Feeding Tampa Bay will provide bi-monthly mobile food pantry drops that feed 200 to 400 families frozen meats, fresh produce and dry goods for a week to supplement nutritional needs between paychecks. Financial education and health services are also on site to help families.

Feeding Tampa Bay identified the areas where families are missing an average of 5 meals a week. United Way will issue a Request for Proposal so organizations in those areas can apply to organize the food drops. Host sites will receive $15,000 for food deliveries, marketing to recipients, recruiting and training volunteers, setting up and cleaning up after each delivery. UWCF’s Safety Net Steering Team will review responses to the RFP and will select host sites that are most likely to produce positive results.