Thursday, December 13, 2012

Please help GF Families in Need for the Holidays!

Katrina Tiller from Gluten Free Friends of Tampa went to Metropolitan Ministries on Monday to drop off a few Gluten Free nonperishable food donations for the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry that were donated by the Tampa Celiac Support Group. She discovered that the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry is very low on GF food donations!  Please help GF Families in need for the holidays by donating items from the GF Holiday Food Drive List to food barrels that will be at both Nutrition S'Mart locations in Tampa for the next 3 weeks (December 15th through January 5th).   We need your help!!!

While at Metropolitan Ministries, Katrina was told a story by a Metro Market food pantry volunteer that reinstilled her drive to help GF families in need.  "We just had a mom with a little girl come in the other day who needed some food from the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry.  When the little girl saw the gluten free food on the shelves, she lit up like she was in a candy store!  She right away started picking out some GF food off the shelves.  The mom commented that it was so hard to find places that had GF food like this."

Poverty does not discriminate.  It can affect people of all different ages, backgrounds, races, religions, and health situations.  It is even more difficult for Gluten Free families in need because of the higher price of gluten free foods in stores and the health problems that can result if they choose to ingest gluten over starvation.  Please help to provide Gluten Free food so that these struggling families do not have to choose between starving or eating food that does contain gluten and will make them extremely sick. 

Please bring all GF food donations to Nutrition S'Mart of Carrollwood  or Nutrition S'Mart of Wesley Chapel during the next 3 weeks for the 2nd Annual Gluten Free Holiday Food Drive.  Questions or want to know more about ways to help the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry?  Contact Katrina Tiller at  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2nd Annual Gluten Free Holiday Food Drive

November has arrived and that means it is time for the 2nd Annual Gluten Free Holiday Food Drive to benefit the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry at Metropolitan Ministries!  Please help GF families in need to be able to have traditional family holiday dinners this season by donating GF non-perishable foods that would be served at a holiday meal.  This GF Holiday Food Drive will be for all of November and December.  Please bring all food donations to the blue food barrels at Nutrition S'Mart of Carrollwood on N. Dale Mabry Road in Tampa.   Here is their website for directions and more information about this store:
  Nutrition S'Mart of Carrollwood.   

If your family or your organization has a large amount of GF food to donate, please contact Katrina Tiller at  She will be happy to discuss an arrangement to pick up large food donations.  Thank you in advance for your support of these wonderful GF families!  Below you will find a list of the type of food donations that are most needed for the Gluten Free Holiday Food Drive.

                                                    Gluten Free Holiday Box of Hope:
  • 1 Gluten Free Whole Turkey or Gift Certificate for a Turkey
  • GF Mashed Potatoes (1 box)
  • GF Gravy (1 container)
  • GF Stuffing (1 box)
  • GF Rice (1 box or bag)
  • GF Canned Black Beans (2 cans)
  • GF Canned Vegetables (2 cans)
  • GF Canned Fruit or Jars of Applesauce (2 cans)
  • GF Cranberry Sauce (2 cans)
  • GF Canned Pumpkin (1 can)
  • GF Bisquick or GF Multipurpose Flour (1 box)
  • GF Dessert Mix (1 box of GF Cake Mix or 1 box of GF Brownie Mix)
  • GF Cookies (1 box)
  • GF Pudding (2 boxes)
  • GF Cereal (1 box)
  • GF Oatmeal (1 box)                                                       
 If you are interested in helping more with the GF Holiday Food Drive, please contact Katrina Tiller at   If you are interested in helping more with Metropolitan Ministries' efforts to help all families in need during this holiday season, here is the website for more information:
Metropolitan Ministries Holiday Central.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Update for Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry

Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry would like to thank Gluten Free Friends of Tampa, the Tampa Celiac Support Group, and the Largo Gluten Free for Life Support Group for their recent donations of nonperishable gluten free foods.  Many people took the time, effort, and money to purchase a few GF foods to donate at the blue food bin at Nutrition S'Mart of Carrollwood and we appreciate that!  We will continue to leave the blue food bin at the store so that people can continue to help Gluten Free families in need!  Also Katrina Tiller, Coordinator for Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry, will continue to attend support group meetings to collect gluten free food donations.

Right now all donations to the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry are going to the Gluten Free Food Pantry section at the emergency food market (Metro Market) at Metropolitan Ministries here in Tampa.  In the future, we hope to coordinate with several other emergency food pantries in the area as well.  If anyone has any suggestions for future locations of the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry, please e-mail Katrina Tiller at  

Thank you again for all of your support!  Here is a photo taken today when Katrina brought donations to put on the shelves at Metropolitan Ministries! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

School is Out, but So is the Food for Many Families in Need

School is out for the summer!  That brings shouts of joy from many school age children who look forward to doing many fun summer activities such as going to summer camp, going to the beach, going to the pool, hanging out at the mall, going to the movies, playing sports, and just hanging out at home playing boardgames with the family.  Summer is filled with wonderful foods:  making hotdogs, hamburgers, and chicken on the grill; slicing juicy red watermelons on a hot day; making chicken salad sandwiches and coleslaw; and don't forget the peach and berry smoothies that make your mouth do a dance! 

Unfortunately, not all families and not all children look at summer as a time of blessing and overflowing food.  Many families in our community struggle even more than usual in the summertime to put enough food on the table for their children.  Many families rely on the public school system to feed their children breakfast and lunch each day.  When school ends, it means that the food runs out faster in their house.  They do not have enough money to pay for the rent, the electricity, and put food on the table for 3 meals a day for their children.  Where do they turn?  Many families in need turn to Metropolitan Ministries for help.

How would you feel if you were a single mom trying to raise your three kids and all you had to feed them in the refrigerator was a pitcher of water and a jar of peanut butter? 

This is where we can help!  Food donations are low right now at Metropolitan Ministries. There are especially a low number of food items right now in the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry.  If you can help, please bring Gluten Free Non-Perishable Foods to: 

Nutrition S'Mart of Carrollwood 
 14847 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL. 33618
(813) 908-9500
*Please put one or more of the following GF food donations in the Blue Food Barrel by the Exit of Nutrition S'Mart of Carrollwood:

*GF Cereal
*GF Canned Fruit
*GF Bread Mix
*GF Peanut Butter
*GF Jam/Jelly
*GF Pasta
*GF Pasta Sauce
*GF Rice
*GF Beans
*GF Canned Soup
*Other GF Dinner Ideas (GF Macaroni and Cheese, GF Hamburger Helper, GF Beef Stew, etc.)
*Box of GF Cookies
*Box of GF Cake Mix or GF Brownie Mix
 Thank you to everyone who opens their heart and is able to give food to help these GF Families! God bless!

Spring Report for Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry

Gluten Free Friends of Tampa wants to thank the Gluten Free for Life Expo Coordinators for letting us set up a table and several GF food collection bins at the GF Expo in St. Petersburg in March.  We also want to thank all of the people who donated GF non-perishable food during their trip to the Expo!  We also had generous donations from several of the GF food vendors who had leftover samples at the end of the Expo.  We were able to fill 4 big blue food barrels with gluten free food donations and more!  My husband's pickup truckbed and backseat were both filled to capacity with donations.  What a blessing!

These GF food donations from the GF for Life Expo were brought to the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry at Metropolitan Ministries and were able to feed many GF families in need here in our community this spring.

The Staff at Metropolitan Ministries have thanked me repeatedly for organizing GF food drives and bringing GF food to their emergency food pantry (known as the Metro Market).  They have a number of GF clients/families who previously were only able to take home a few cans of fruits and vegetables from their Metro Market.  Now they are able to bring home some "real food" to feed their families.  They are now able to go to the GF section of the Metro Market and pick out GF pasta, GF canned soup, GF rice, GF cereal, and other options thanks to the generosity of our local gluten free support groups.

Thank you for bringing smiles and hope to the GF families in need here in Tampa!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

February Was Not Looking like the Month of Love for the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry, but then Hearts Poured Out

February is the month that we celebrate love, but there was not a lot of love and GF food donations being given to the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry at the start of the month.  All of the donations from the Gluten Free Holiday Food Drive had long since been given away and eaten by hungry families in need.  I sent e-mails to several gluten free companies asking for donations, but they either did not respond or they e-mailed back saying I needed to e-mail a different contact within the company.  There were also not a lot of donations being given at the local level and the pantry shelves were looking very bare.  I would keep GF food on the shelves by madly searching the internet for printable coupons and then buying GF nonperishable foods on sale at local health food stores and grocery stores. 

The end of February finally brought some love and food to the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry.  We would like to thank the Largo Gluten Free For Life Support Group for bringing nonperishable GF food to their February meeting.  This food was a big help!  It is amazing what a big difference we can make in the community if we each just give a little.  If everyone gives a little GF food, that can add up to a lot of GF food provided for GF families in need.

Gluten Free Friends of Tampa would also like to thank Udi's Gluten Free Foods for showing a lot of love to the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry.  Udi's donated loaves of GF whole grain bread that we have stored in the freezer at the Metropolitan Ministries Metro Market.  Udi's also donated all four types of their delicious gluten free granolas!  I know that many families in need will find joy in being able to eat these Udi's food donations.  For those of you who are not familiar with Udi's gluten free baked goods, you should definitely check out their website at  If you are an Udi's fan already, you should definitely check out their website to see their new gluten free products that just came out such as their new GF frozen pizzas, GF brownie bites, and their GF muffin tops.

When I left Metropolitan Ministries today after restocking the Gluten Free Food Pantry, I was very happy because the GF Food Pantry section looked much better than before!  I hope that March brings many GF food donations.  My next blog posting will be on plans for the month of March.  We are hoping to do a Spring Holiday GF Food Drive and leave blue barrels at several local health food stores.  More details coming soon....If anyone wants to donate, these are the items most needed for a Gluten Free "Everyday Box of Hope":

*Gluten Free Cereal
*Gluten Free Oatmeal
*Gluten Free Canned Fruit
*Gluten Free Bread
*Gluten Free Peanut Butter
*Gluten Free Jam/Jelly
*Gluten Free Soup
*Gluten Free Pasta
*Gluten Free Tomato Sauce
*Gluten Free Rice
*Gluten Free Beans
*Gluten Free Desserts (GF cookies, GF brownies, GF cake mix, etc.)

 Thank you again to everyone who is willing to help!  Please spread the word to let people know about the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Many Families Served and Need to Now Restock the Gluten Free Food Pantry

Yesterday I went to the Tampa Gluten Free Food Pantry at Metropolitan Ministries to drop off a lot of Gluten Free Cookies that have been donated by Enjoy Life Foods.  Enjoy Life donated boxes of snickerdoodles, apple cookies, lemon cookies, chocolate chip cookies, brownie cookies, and their new crispy sugar cookies and crispy honey graham cookies.  Thank you so much for your donations Enjoy Life Foods! 

I discovered that the shelves of the Gluten Free Food Pantry were close to bare.  The good news is that many families in need have been able to eat this delicious gluten free food that has been donated!   However, it also means that now we need to come together again as a gluten free community to donate and restock the Gluten Free Food Pantry. 

If each member of the gluten free community buys a few extra non-perishable gluten free food items each week to donate to the Gluten Free Food Pantry, we should be able to gather enough food again to help!  Please bring food donations to either the Gluten Free For Life Largo Support Group Meeting on Saturday January 28th or the Tampa Celiac Support Group Meeting on Saturday February 11th.  I will put all of the donations in a big box and then bring them over to Metropolitan Ministries to restock the shelves on the week after each of these meetings. 

Please help those in need of emergency Gluten Free food by donating these items for a  “Gluten Free Everyday Box of Hope”:

Gluten Free Cereal
Gluten Free Oatmeal
Gluten Free Canned Fruit
Gluten Free Bread*
Gluten Free Peanut Butter
Gluten Free Jam/Jelly
Gluten Free Soup
Gluten Free Pasta
Gluten Free Tomato Sauce
Gluten Free Canned Vegetables
Gluten Free Rice
Gluten Free Desserts (Gluten Free Cookies, Gluten Free Brownie Mixes, Gluten Free Cake Mixes, etc.)

Thank you for all of your help!