TAMPA BAY, Fla. — During the pandemic, many saw our community come together in many ways and on Friday, the University of South Florida Army ROTC program is giving back to the Tampa Bay area with a unique food drive.

What You Need To Know

  • ROTC will do a 4-mile run with food in their backpacks

  • Feeding Tampa Bay helps families who are “food insecure”

  • Number of families in that situation have grown during pandemic

The ROTC is doing a 4-mile ruck — which is basically a 4-mile walk or run with a heavy backpack — and their backpacks will be filled with food to donate to Feeding Tampa Bay.

“What our families are going through is not easy, and what our cadets are trying to tell all of us is that they're trying to make it not easy too so that the work they do, the raising of food, is a sacrifice and for all of us sacrificial giving matters. Whether you're writing a check, or donating your time, or running around USF with a backpack on your back in the heat of Tampa bay making sure you find food for neighbors and raise awareness,” said Thomas Mantz, president and CEO of Feeding Tampa Bay.

Mantz said there’s been a huge increase in the number of families considered “food insecure” because of COVID.

He said before the pandemic, there were about 625,000 families considered food insecure, and now there are close to 1 million.

If you would like to make a donation, volunteer your time, or if you need help feeding your family, you can contact Feeding Tampa Bay.