Self Funding Food Relief Kitchen and Workforce Training Program by Feeding Tampa Bay and Trinity Cafe

An innovative social enterprise where fresh meals fund food relief programs while providing workforce training to those preparing them.

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  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States


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Where are you making a difference?

FL: Tampa

Focus Areas (required)

  • Business & Social Enterprise
  • Health & Fitness

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)


  • $50k - $100k

Website or social media URL(s) (optional)

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1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

Social enterprise is somewhat of a buzzword in the nonprofit field, and it was over a coffee "buzz" that the vision of this program was brewed. In their long-running weekly coffee meetings, Feeding Tampa Bay's Executive Director and Trinity Cafe's founder Jeff Derry saw that Trinity Cafe's kitchen could be put to use in producing healthy meals that could be both distributed to people needing food relief and sold to the general public, the latter of which would fund the costs of the program. In future stages, this program would also provide workforce training to people seeking a career as a chef, thereby helping people move away from needing food assistance and to full employment.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Hunger is a persistent problem in communities across the country. In the Tampa Bay region, 700,000 people face hunger, including 1 out of 4 children and 76% of senior households. Food is a basic human need and being hungry affects everything we do from learning in school to aging healthily to obtaining and holding quality employment. Feeding Tampa Bay's vision is a hunger free Tampa Bay.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

There are many models of how food banks across the country have implemented programs that fulfill their mission while being self funding. For Feeding Tampa Bay, we envision the use of resources of a strong partner in Tampa- Trinity Cafe- to create healthy, ready-to-eat meals that can be distributed to food insecure households through existing programs as well as sold to more affluent individuals in order to fund the program. Kitchen labor will be supplied by a workforce training program with participants seeking skills and careers in the food industry. Trinity Cafe serves meals to low income residents throughout the week but the kitchen is unused in the evenings; this program would utilize the facility during off hours. Meals distribution would also occur in the evening when Feeding Tampa Bay's trucks are unused. In this way, the program is utilizing existing underused resources and simultaneously addressing food insecurity and the workforce skills gap. Furthermore, the sale of prepared meals at full retail prices not only funds the program but provides marketing for Feeding Tampa Bay and Trinity Cafe, strengthening each organization's brands with potential donors and volunteers.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

Trinity Cafe currently serves lunch on weekdays at two locations and breakfast on the weekends. For their "What's Cooking? Blog," they highlight clients and volunteers. One featured client is Shirley (full story at, who said: "If it wasn’t for Trinity Cafe, a lot of times when I slept in the streets I would be hungry too. I’d be laying down in the park and I be really hungry looking forward to having that meal because I didn’t have a home so I didn’t have anywhere to cook but I know I could come here and get a meal. I believe food is love. It’s good for your mind, your soul, your body, and the way you think about other people and the world in general." There are many stories like Shirley's and with this expansion, people like her could receive job training that would also produce the meals and human connection that she described.

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

Feeding Tampa Bay and Trinity Cafe serve populations in need of food assistance. This includes working families, seniors, homeless individuals, veterans, low-income students and anyone else who is unsure where their next meal will come from. It is likely that those in need of food assistance are also in need of affordable/free financial services.

5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:

  • ability
  • geography
  • immigration status
  • work status
  • age - youth
  • age - elder
  • socio-economic class

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Feeding Tampa Bay is the leader in food relief in west central Florida. We work with over 550 partner organizations to distribute food to those facing hunger in 10 Florida counties. This program expands on Feeding Tampa Bay and Trinity Cafe's existing food relief programs in an innovative way. It is a timely expansion as Trinity Cafe is seeking to open a third location across the by in St. Petersburg, FL. Feeding Tampa Bay's network affiliate Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida runs a similar program model and controlling food production in lieu a supplier is invaluable to them.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Feeding Tampa Bay distributes over 40 million meals annually and Trinity Cafe serves nearly 400 meals every day of the year at two locations in Tampa. In addition to being a centralized distribution center for food donations to food pantries and meal sites, Feeding Tampa Bay also operates mobile food pantries, school pantries, school backpack distributions, after school meals, and meal distribution to seniors.

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

The next phase of this meals program is to develop the product and distribution of ready to eat meals. As we expand this program past that, our goal is to distribute prepared meals at more locations. As we expand the locations that we are selling prepared meals, we will be able to distribute more free meals to food insecure households and individuals. Later phases of this program include creating a workforce training program in the production kitchen to teach low income individuals food industry job skills.

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Organizational Growth

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Financial stability is one of the main drivers of this program, along with Feeding Tampa Bay's and Trinity Cafe's missions to feed people. As it expands, this program will create a consistent income stream to fund itself and even provide funding for other food relief initiatives. In addition, having multiple partners- FTB, Trinity Cafe, possibly others in the future- will diversify the program's funding stream.

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Feeding Tampa Bay is governed by a 25 member Board of Directors and has over 60 staff members. Trinity Cafe is governed by a 13 member board of directors and a small staff. Both organizations use tens of thousands of volunteers every year. Some roles in this project's expansion will be managed by current staff and volunteers and some funding will be used towards new staffing.

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