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With the acute stages of Covid decreasing, Covid-related funding and aid is also declining. But, the worsening economic situation keep the demand for basic services and support at the same level as in the initial months of Covid which saw the economy shut down. While it is not possible to restore the levels of care and support, St. Pete Free Clinic St. Pete Free Clinic has to increase its efforts.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that in 2021, the average hourly wage in the US rose by 3.6 percent. However, the current rates of inflation have given an workers on average a 2 percent reduction. It’s true that almost half of the people living in Pinellas County work hard every day, and sometimes hold more than one job and are still forced to take difficult decisions each month, including how to pay the electric bill or purchase groceries for their families,” explained Jennifer Yeagley, CEO of SPFC.

“SPFC is determined to ensure that our neighbors don’t have to make those decisions. We’re excited to announce future expansions that will enable us to to fill in the gaps, stay healthy and reduce the stress of unaffordable situations.”

Expanding of Food Distribution Facilities

Food distribution through The Jared S. Hecktkopf Community Food Bank known by the name Jared’s Food Bank, has increased by more than a third in the last two years. In the year 2019, SPFC distributed 11.9 million pounds of food. In 2021, SPFC distributed 20.4 million pounds. SPFC has expanded its capacity by the construction of a warehouse located situated on 22 Avenue South. Avenue South. This will doubling that of Jared’s Food Bank, to enable the organization to expand its reach and serve additional partners who are in need.

Expanding the distribution of food Methods Locations, Hours of Operation, and Hours

SPFC served food to more than the 20,000 people who received food in February 2022. This is which is a two-digit increase from the same time the year before. As the need to serve many more individuals than before before is ongoing as is the need for greater choice and access.

To ensure safety and accommodate a an increase in the number of households that are served for the purpose of safety, to ensure safety and accommodate a significantly increased number of households served, the SPFC We Help FRESH Pantry has been operating out of the parking lot of the organisation at its downtown location for the past two years. The 6th of June marks the day that it is expected that the FRESH Pantry will be returning inside under a “client selection” model, which allows patrons to choose the items they are given.

SPFC will offer drive-throughs for families with busy schedules or people who might not be able gain access to an indoor FRESH pantry. On June 6 SPFC will move its drive-through location to the following two locations.

Jared S. Hechtkopf Community Food Bank

33115, 44th Ave N, St. Pete 33714

Tuesday and Friday 2 p.m.

22nd Street South Revitalization Area

2198 15 15 Avenue South St. Pete 33712

Monday and Wednesday, 2-6 p.m.

The 22 2nd Street drive-through restaurant is part of a building which is owned by Elihu and Carolyn Brayboy (Mr. and Mrs. B) proprietors of Chief’s Creole Cafe and leaders of their own non-profit organization called Making Opportunities Materialize. Mr. B says, “Mrs. B and I grew up on the streets of South St. Pete, and we truly love people in this area. The new location is an area of food insecurity, and it’s an honor to collaborate together with St. Pete Free Clinic to provide nutritious food options to the area. One step could help alleviate stress by allowing access to people who live in this area. They will no longer need to walk out of the neighborhood to find the way to downtown to buy food! We are delighted to be part of the revitalization of the 22nd Street South neighborhood, and is sometimes referred to by the name of Deuces.”

Extended Expansion of Mobile We Aid FRESH Food Pantry Locators

In addition to expanding areas, hours, and drive-through choices, SPFC will continue to provide additional mobile pantries to areas that aren’t served by the food system in northern Pinellas County, ensuring all people living in areas of food and nutrition need within the county are provided with consistent access to high-quality food.

Sheryl Zeitler serves as the Communications Director at the St. Pete Free Clinic.To learn more about SPFC visit www.thespfc.org.

Community Voices