Instead of giving up, Tampa Bay family hit hard by pandemic gives back

Community

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The pandemic has had its many effects on families throughout the Tampa Bay area, but one family is focusing on giving back to their community instead.

It’s fair to say 2020 has been a tough year.

“California is on fire, Australia are on fire, African-Americans are being murdered in the street and we’re having dinner and we’re crying, this is a chance to be good,” said Rose Munoz.

Munoz is the wife to Ahmed Okeeffe and mother to her three sons; Jabriel, Jalal and Zayd Okeeffee. Despite everything going on in the world and in their own house, the family is focused on serving their community.

The Okeeffe-Munoz family volunteer at Feeding Tampa Bay.

“Everybody in our family knows that Tuesdays are Feeding Tampa Bay days,” Ahmed Okeeffe said.

It’s a tradition that has carried on throughout the pandemic even after Ahmed was laid off.

“I lost my job, but at least I get to come out and volunteer with Feeding Tampa day,” Ahmed said.

Feeding Tampa Bay serves more than one million families across Tampa Bay. The organization depends on over 5000 volunteers monthly to place food on the tables of those in need. The Munoz and Okeeffe family joined the Feeding Tampa Bay team in 2019.

“We wanted a place where we could all volunteer as a family and come out and do good for the community together,” Munoz said.

Every Tuesday, the entire family goes to the FTB distribution center. They spend a total of four hours there. This time has become so valuable to Ahmed and Rose’s three sons.

“Making a small, repetitive impact on community for the better, it adds up a lot,” Jalal Okeeffe said.

“I used to not want to go here,” Zayd Okeeffe said. “I used to be dragged, but now I enjoy coming here and now I feel like I’m doing something bigger than what most people do.”

“A lot of people are disconnected these days and I really wanted them to feel connected and show they can do something good,” Ahmed said.

Doing something good.

“We can fill that box for them, see them walk out and say I fed that person,” Rose said.

For others instead of themselves.

Ahmed is still jobless. He used to work at Raymond James Financial. Despite their hardships, the family set up a Go-Fundme to raise money for Feeding Tampa Bay. They have raised more than one thousand dollars so far. They will give Feeding Tampa Bay the check for Thanksgiving.

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