Courtesy of Rochelle Alleyne ABC
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — At a drive-thru at Middleton High School in Tampa, dozens of families stocked up on a free holiday meal.
"Since the pandemic, it's been really hard for me and I'm a single mom," said Julia Whitter.
It's all courtesy of several Tampa Bay area groups—like Jaffe Tilchin Wealth Management (JTWM)—who's been feeding the community for over a decade.
"We've been fortunate enough to have the ability to give back. We like to touch as many people as we can with our help," said JTWM Director of Insurance Operations Victor Mandia.
Members of the Pi Iota chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity were also on hand to help load the more than 200 meals into cars.
It's work that they say is built into the fabric of their organization.
"Omega psi phi has four cardinal principles: manhood, scholarship, perseverance, and uplift. This is our uplift. If we don't give back, I don't know what we're doing; that's what we're built on," said the chapter's Basileus Al Sheriff.
And it's work that is needed now more than ever.
According to Feeding Florida, the need for food in our state is up by 2,000 percent. This comes at a time when the average Thanksgiving meal is expected to cost about $10.
Superintendent for Hillsborough County Public Schools, Addison Davis, told ABC Action News that hosting events like this are part of a larger effort to set the next generation up for success.
"For us, it's the foundation of setting up a learner to be successful. Our job as a community leader is to break the cycle of poverty," said Davis.