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Tribune: A box of this, a can of that will Feed the Bay

Tribune: A box of this, a can of that will Feed the Bay

Tribune staff
Published: March 21, 2014


BRANDON — Several thousand churchgoers will change out of their Sunday best and into their Feed the Bay T-shirts this weekend in time for the annual food drive.

Feed the Bay, in its ninth year, is a partnership between 34 local churches, most of them in the eastern part of the county, and 17 charitable agencies.

During Sunday services, the churches will hand out grocery lists compiled by participating agencies, including such organizations as Metropolitan Ministries and the Emergency Care Help Organization, or ECHO.

Volunteers will make their way to the grocery store after church, stock up on some of the items on the list and deposit their bags by 2 p.m. onto trucks at 19 Publix locations.

The trucks then will head back to the food banks, which will be ready to distribute the new items Monday.

“It’s really the easiest way to serve,” said Melanie Langston, Feed the Bay coordinator for Bay Life Church. Anyone can participate, not just church members, she said.

The list of requests includes more than 30 items ranging from toiletries to canned goods to crackers and cereal.

People are encouraged only to buy what they can afford to donate, said Debbie Weisemann, a team leader from Bell Shoals Baptist Church.

“Between you buying and me buying and other people buying, we got it,” she said.

Feed the Bay was started in 2006 by Brandon’s Bay Life Church and has collected more than a million pounds of food, toiletries and store gift cards through the years.

The event is held before Easter every year as a way to help the food banks restock after they begin to run out of the items they collect during the holiday season.

The goal is to expand the event throughout all of Hillsborough County and then statewide, Weisemann said.

Feed the Bay has grown, but the event stays true to the original mission, she said.

“The basic theme is always pretty much the same,” she said. “Really taking time to, first of all, pray for those that are walking through different times, and then going and doing something about it.”

To find out more about Feed the Bay donation locations, go to
(813) 259-7691

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Tribune: Empty Bowls fundraiser supports ECHO

Tribune: Empty Bowls fundraiser supports ECHO

The Brandon News 
Published: February 25, 2014


For a donation of $15, people who attended the Empty Bowls charity event at the Boys & Girls Club of Brandon could sample everything from sausage potato and kale soup to strawberry daiquiri bisque.

Stacey Efaw of Brandon, executive director of Emergency Care Help Organization, said more than 30 volunteers came out Feb. 15 and served up the soups for the event, which raised funds for the Brandon food pantry.

She said each participant could take home one of the 200 clay bowls made by children from elementary schools. (more…)

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Osprey Observer: Help Fill Local Food Pantries By Participating In The Annual Scouting For Food Drive

Osprey Observer: Help Fill Local Food Pantries By Participating In The Annual Scouting For Food Drive

Boy Scouts Food Drive for ECHO of Brandon 

On Saturday, February 22, the Boy Scouts of Gulf Ridge Council will participate in a nationwide food drive called “Scouting For Food.” Scouts will deliver bags provided by Publix to thousands of homes throughout the greater Brandon area on or about Saturday, February 15.

Residents are asked to fill the bags with non-expired, non-perishable food items such as canned soup, canned meats, pasta, canned vegetables and dried milk. Place the filled bag by your front door on Saturday, February 22, and scouts will come and pick up the bags between 9 a.m. and Noon.

Walter McKnight is the Gulf Ridge Council Scouting For Food Chairman. He has been involved with Scouting for over 32 years and has been conducting the food drive for the last 17 years. McKnight said, “As part of our duty to our country and to help others at all times, we (Scouts) conduct the annual food drive to refill the pantries that feed the hungry. We do it in February because that is when the pantries are empty after taking care of the needy during the holidays.” McKnight added, “Whether you like the Scouts or not, the cause of feeding the hungry needs to be taken care of by those who can. We have been doing this for over 50 years and will continue to do it in the future.” (more…)

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Osprey Observer: ECHO Raises Hunger Awareness with 2nd Annual Empty Bowls

ooFor one in four area residents, hunger and not having enough to eat are every day problems. To help raise aware-ness of this pervasive issue and to raise funds to combat hunger, the Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO) of Brandon is holding its 2nd Annual Empty Bowls event. The event will be held on Saturday, February 15 from Noon- 2 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club located at 213 Knights Ave. in Brandon.


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TBO: Winthrop Community Garden supplies ECHO food pantry

community gardenRIVERVIEW — On a recent sweltering Saturday, Katrina Hockman hand-watered fledgling plots of vegetables with a hose hooked to an old well; about the only manmade structure left on this slice of a former dairy farm.

Thigh-high grass engulfs most of the three-acre tract, but Hockman is determined to carve out a community garden here. She envisions a space filled with vegetables and fruit to feed the needy, a place where people can meditate or get their hands dirty.

“I know how I want this to look. Right now it’s just in my head. I want to be able to incorporate the Winthrop vision of community and art.”

The patch of land Hockman is tending is part of Winthrop, a neotraditional development founded by John and Kay Sullivan that includes Winthrop Town Center, Winthrop Village and Winthrop Events Centre.


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ECHO thanks local banks, partners for assistance with Back to School Event

ECHO Back to School EventBack to School Event 2013

ECHO staffer, Kathy Collins, joins representatives of HSBC, Bank of America, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union Foundation and Citi.  ECHO extends many thanks to the four banks for supporting our efforts to provide area children with backpacks and age appropriate school supplies.  Each not only gave monetary donations and or supplies, but they also provided much needed volunteer support at the Backpack Outreach Event held on Saturday, August 10 at Camp Cristina in Riverview.  The event, in coordination with the YMCA,  furnished over 1600 children with the materials needed to succeed in school!

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TBO: 5 non-profits in eastern Hillsborough set to receive Children’s Board grants

Childrens Board of Hillsborough CountyView Original Article at TBO

BRANDON — Five community agencies known for helping families with daily needs, tutoring and other educational issues are set to receive grants this year from the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County.

One agency — Pregnancy Care Center of Plant City — guides women through unplanned pregnancies and offers post-abortion counseling, while another — Emergency Care Help Organization in Brandon — helps struggling families put food on the table and clothes on their children.

The Greater Palm River Point Community Development Corp. offers services to families whose youngsters may need tutoring or whose adults may need job training and the Family Literacy Academy of Tampa Bay in Plant City teaches both youngsters and adults how to read. Down south in Wimauma, Wholesome Community Ministries Inc. is focusing its efforts on poor families in the South Shore area. (more…)

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Brandon Patch: Mosaic Donates $120,000 To Local Food Banks During Hunger-Relief Forum

Brandon Patch: Mosaic Donates $120,000 To Local Food Banks During Hunger-Relief Forum

The Brandon Emergency Care Help Organization was among 12 nonprofit food banks that received $10,000 each during the July 26 forum.

Posted by D’Ann White (Editor)

As part of its efforts to combat the global food crisis, The Mosaic Co. hosted a hunger relief forum July 26 at which it donated $120,000 to 12 local food banks to help the one in six people in Central Florida who don’t know where they will get their next meal.

The community forum, attended by hundreds of local leaders at the Florida State Fairgrounds, featured a presentation by National Geographic magazine photographer John Stanmeyer, who shared his photographs and perspective on the global food crisis.

Hosted by Gary N. “Bo” Davis, Mosaic’s senior vice president of phosphate operations, the forum also included a panel discussion with local experts.

“Sustaining our food supply literally starts from the ground up,” said Davis. “It’s a collaborative effort that requires engagement from mine to market. The experiences we’ve shared with the organizations serving the front lines of this issue remind us every day how important our work is to finding sustainable solutions for this very real and growing problem at home and around the globe as the world gains 75 million new people each year.”

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Brandon Patch: Volunteers in the News ECHO Celebrates Completion of Renovated Kitchen

The newly renovated kitchen/pantry will allow clients to shop for themselves.

food pantry brandon fl

The Emergency Care Help Organization of Brandon will celebrate the grand opening of its newly renovated kitchen/pantry with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today, June 13, at 3 p.m.

Residents are invited to tour the facility at the celebration featuring representatives from theGreater Seffner Area Chamber of CommerceGreater Brandon Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce.

The kitchen/pantry was renovated with grants from Bank of America and Walmart. The new design allows the clients to shop for themselves. (more…)

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