The St. Mark's conference of St. Vincent de Paul operates a food pantry every Tuesday afternoon from 3pm to 6pm to help provide food to those in need in the North Tampa area. Clients can visit the pantry once a month and obtain pre-filled food bags that typically contain items such as:
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Canned Tuna or Chicken
- Canned Fruit & Vegetables
- Chunky Soups
- 1lb box of spaghetti
- Canned spaghetti sauce
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Rice/Instant Potatoes
- Canned pasta (ravioli, spaghettio's, etc.)
- Hamburger Helper and complete meals
Most of our food is obtained via parish food drives, which are very successful thanks to the generosity of the St. Mark's parishioners. A portion of the cash donations received from the monthly envelope collection is used to purchase food items, when we run low in between food drive collections. Most of this food is purchased through our relationship with Feeding America Tampa Bay Food bank at a nominal cost.
Our conference also has forged relationships with local businesses to assist with providing food to our clients, for which we are very grateful. As an example, Red Lobster in New Tampa provides surplus food items that are distributed from the pantry each week. Publix on Cross Creek Blvd donates day old bread and pastries every Tuesday, which augments our pantry food supply.
We are also very blessed to have a cooperative inter-ministry relationship with the Boy Scouts, who help organize some of our food drives, as well as the SMARTS group, who always come to our aid when we need extra jars of peanut butter or cans of tuna.