TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Kathy Fooshee is a volunteer at Trinity Café in Tampa, which has been serving warm meals for more than 20 years.
Lately Fooshee said she’s seeing a new and different group of people asking for food assistance.
“A few years ago when I started volunteering, it was mostly homeless people or people down on their luck, but now we see a lot of people, working people, especially coming through in the drive through, maybe they are taking a break, getting their lunch and going back to work,” Fooshee said.
She said inflation is hitting everyone very hard right now.
“The price of everything, food has gone up, gasoline, everything has gone up and a lot of these folks are making minimum wage and they can’t afford their food so, they’re coming here,” Fooshee said.
Feeding Tampa Bay is helping many of those people put food on their tables.
“The economy is really impacting families in three significant areas that we know: the cost of your housing, the cost of your transportation, meaning gas and the cost of your food,” Feeding Tampa Bay CEO Thomas Mantz said.
He said many families are being forced to make difficult decisions.
“When a parent has to choose between having to pay for food or medicine for their child, what do they do?” Mantz said. “There is no good answer for that. When a parent has to choose between supplies that they need in their household versus food. When you have to choose between rent or food. These are very difficult decisions.”
He said many of the families making these tough choices have working parents.
“They have jobs, they have houses, they pay taxes, they are people that you and I know every single day, so maybe they are a service attendant in a place where we are getting some support, maybe they work in a grocery store or a department store. Maybe they work in the leisure industry but all of those folks are people that are in our world,” said Mantz.
He said the community can help by volunteering or making donations to Feeding Tampa Bay so that struggling families can eat.