Feed 500 members of Tampa's HIV/AIDS Community

by Francis House, Inc.

In 2007, when we started thinking about startinga food pantry, we were concerned.  Concerned that the space we had was too small to feed the few clients that we had.  Concerned we wouldn't have the manpower or money to keep it stocked. No matter the concerns, we forged ahead with a donation from the USPS Letter Carrier's Drive.  We recieved 10,000 pound of food.  With smiles on our faces, we sorted, stocked, organized and opened our pantry with the idea that this food would get us through until we could figure out how to raise enough money to keep it stocked.

Our idea was wrong.  10,000 pounds of food lasted a mere three weeks.  The need for food was more than we imagined.  It outweighed our supply.  Then, a miracle donor came to us out of the blue and offered to keep our pantry stocked!  $1,000 each month was more than enough to keep our clients fed!  Then... our economy took a hit as well as our miracle donor and their contribution was decreased to $500 each month. Clients began to flood in for services.  Not just food, but support, housing, case management.  Our small client base grew.  Our lunch program went from feeding 10 people a day to feeding 50 people a day.  10 people using our pantry daily grew to 30 and $500 is just not enough to keep it stocked.

We shop at our local Feeding America Food Bank in order to maximize the dollars we spend.  We acquire hygiene items from the local dollar store to keep costs down.  Through this past year, we have distributed a retail value over $100,000 worth of food and hygiene items.  We are proud of our little pantry that could and does keep on giving. Global Giving has enabled us to subsidize our monthly allotment and increase the amount of food we can stock.

We thank you for choosing us to donate your hard earned money to. We only wish you could meet the people that you have fed and see the smiles for yourself.  

"The images of a child's bloated belly or of a mother searching through garbage trying to find food are ones that have long haunted our world and that must be erased immediately. Hunger and malnutrition affect a vast majority of the people in the planet and many die every day from these preventable causes. It is time not to just speak out against hunger but to do something about it." ~ Jose Hadathy

People will ask you time and time again - are you hungry?  We may say yes, we may say no and we may say we are starving.  The question got me to thinking - do we really know what hunger is?  We know the feeling in our bellys'  when we skip breakfast or lunch.  Some of us might know the feeling after our day has gotten away from us and we have "forgotten" to eat.  But do we really know about hunger?  Do we know what it feels like to skip three days worth of meals becasue we have no money to buy food?  Do we know what it feels like to skip a weeks worth of food so that others in our family can eat?  I'm not sure that we do.  I'm not sure any of us wants to take on that challenge.

The folks that Francis House serves may never have to experience those extreme hunger pains.  It has been through the generosity of our global giving supporters and our community that have helped us provide over 9,000 meals to those we serve.  We have also distributed over $100,000 worth of food and hygiene products since the inception of our pantry in 2007.

We thank you and hope for your continued support so that our clients can answer "No" when asked if they are hungry!


Hunger and malnutrition are significant obstacles to the fight against HIV.

The connection between food and HIV treatment is not an obvious one, but for the people of our community, this connection is vital to both lives and livelihoods.

When high health care costs mean that a family can’t put food on the table, when malnutrition means an HIV patient has a greater risk of dying or when not having enough to eat means experiencing intolerable side effects from treatment, food and nutrition can make the difference between life and death.

Our clients make these choices everyday.  Those choices make our food pantry an even greater tool in making sure they can meet their basic needs to fight the daily battle to live. When clients leave our facility with a bag full of food and a look of hope...it makes us fight to keep our pantry stocked.

Thank you to all of you that have donated to this project in an effort to help us reach our goals!

What do you think of when you hear the word charity?  Do you think food - I didn't.... not until I began working with people who were truly hungry.  Hunger has always been an annoyance to me...  not a problem.

The Francis House food pantry began in 2007 with a 10,000 pound donation of food through the US postal Services Letter Carriers Food Drive.  Very quickly - within two months - that donation was gone.  Very quickly we learned that the need and demand outweighed the supply.  The food we distribute became the main source of food and while we helped to reduce the hunger among our clients, we have not been able to eliminate it.

We have said before, more and more clients are depending on the food we provide as their main source of food.  Our food pantry has near empty shelves and our hygiene items have been scarce.  The donations coming in through GlobalGiving have given us hope that people do realize that not everyone has access to three meals a day.

As you think about where you want your hard earned money to go, know that every penny of these donations goes right to putting food on someone's table.  Justice is being done.

"Hunger is not an issue of charity. It is an issue of justice." Jacques Diouf, Food and Agricultural Organization Director-general

Just like that.  A group of people sitting in a room trying to figure out what programs to cut because of lack of funds.  First on the chopping block - Food.

The drastic cut in area funding resulted in the largest Food program for the HIV/AIDS community here in Tampa Bay to close its doors on February 29, 2012.  Food is not ranked as a high priority, but is essential for clients to maintain their health and stay adherent to their HIV medications, which in turn keeps them living longer.

Francis House's pantry was designed as a supplemental program for the clients that participate in services.  It is now the only food pantry in the area that specifically serves our HIV/AIDS community.  And we can't serve them without you.  Our budget is $500 per month.  Our distribution is amost $3,000 worth of food and hygiene products each month.  Your Global Giving donations have helped us stretch this budget and continue to serve as many people as we can.

But, like all other small non-profits, we need more.  I am asking you to buy a meal, to buy another day of a person able to take their medications.  To invest in our community and the people that make our community what it is.  To invest in a population that still faces the stigma of their disease every day. 

I thank all of you that have donated to our project and have already invested in our people.



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Organization Information

Francis House, Inc.

Location: Tampa, FL - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.francishouse.org
Project Leader:
Joy Winheim
Tampa, FL United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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