TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Trinity Café is a free, full-service restaurant run by Feeding Tampa Bay. It serves those who need it most like Alex Robertson.

“There’s a lot of people that I see that would actually starve if they didn’t have this place,” he said.

Robertson says it saves lives, all thanks to volunteers like Joel Sittloh who was homeless himself just eight months ago.

“I always promised me and my higher power, if I were ever in the position to volunteer and help the homeless and less fortunate, I would do that,” Sittloh said.

Ever since, he has been lending a helping hand as Feeding Tampa Bay works toward a monumental goal: Creating a hunger-free Tampa Bay by 2025.

Community leaders joined together for a panel discussion illustrating the cross section between hunger, education, and health here in Tampa Bay.

Feeding Tampa Bay CEO Thomas Mantz said, “There are gaps that exist.” He went on to say, “Often the system does provide resources, but it’s the inability of the system to reach the people.”

He says benefits like SNAP are not fully utilized in every community Feeding Tampa Bay serves.

“Often those benefits go unused,” he said. “There’s people that can access it that just don’t know how to do it.”

As for the future, Feeding Tampa Bay will serve the nearly 1 million people in our community facing food insecurity by strengthening partnerships and working to address gaps within the system,

So people like Joel can come out on the other side and give back.