Michael Barnett, CEO of Tampa Jewish Family Services



On Nov. 1, the federal food stamp program, otherwise known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), cut $5 billion from the program, impacting nearly 280,000 Hillsborough County residents alone.[1] The trickle-down effect was felt on day-one at Tampa Jewish Family Services. The call volume with requests for food and financial assistance was alarming. Alarming because of the sheer numbers of people needing assistance, and because we need to find a way to meet the demand. At TJFS, we never turn anyone away. But to do this, we need your help.

Most of us have what’s referred to as food security, meaning you live in a household with access by all members at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. At Tampa Jewish Family Services, our Food Bank clients experience food insecurity, a household with a limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.[2] It sounds harsh, but it is a reality in our community.

Today, Nov. 5, 2013, we open the doors of our Food Bank in Citrus Park to individuals and families who turn to us for one of life’s most basic necessities – food. On Thursday in Brandon, our satellite location will help even more families who rely on TJFS for food. Each month, the agency helps between 400-450 families through the Tampa Jewish Family Services Community Food Bank.

The cuts to the food stamp program will be felt by families as we approach the end of the month, during the Thanksgiving holiday. A family of four will see $36 less in their food stamps, which means they will run out of funds before the end of the month. TJFS already is working hard to provide 90 families with a Thanksgiving meal. Turkeys have been donated by a generous supporter, and we are collecting food and cash donations to provide the ingredients for a complete meal. And now this, another layer of need and concern from our clients – and a new demand on our agency to find the resources to help.

I am asking you to consider a monetary donation to help us meet the increased demand for food in our community. You can donate online at tjfs.org, by calling our offices at 813-960-1848, or mailing a check to 13009 Community Campus Drive, Tampa, FL 33625. Every donation is appreciated and valued – no matter the size.

Thank you for your support,


Michael Barnett
CEO, Tampa Jewish Family Services


[1] Kevin Wiatrowski, “Cuts to food stamps are punch in the gut, recipients say.” 2013, http://tbo.com/news/politics/cuts-to-food-stamps-are-punch-in-the-gut-recipients-say-20131102/, (accessed November 2, 2013).

[2] (Definitions are from the Life Sciences Research Office, S.A. Andersen, ed., “Core Indicators of Nutritional State for Difficult to Sample Populations,” The Journal of Nutrition 120:1557S-1600S, 1990.)