A little over 3,000,000 people live in the greater Tampa Bay region; roughly 700,000 residents experience hunger on a regular basis. This is an unacceptably high and unfortunately all too common statistic. The solutions to the long-term problem of hunger both globally and locally are complex. The solution to the immediate problem of hunger is often more straightforward – collect, package and distribute food donations and surpluses to people in need. To better understand the long-term problem of hunger in the region, the CEO Council of Tampa Bay participated in the short-term solution by organizing over 20 of their volunteers along with 60 others to organize, bag and box groceries for distribution of 11,665 meals to almost 3,000 families.
“This does not solve the underlying problems of a lifetime of hunger but it does solve the immediate problem of hunger for a week.” According to Peter Dobler, CEO of Dobler Consulting “What we learned after spending the afternoon at Feeding Tampa Bay is that chronic hunger is more than just a lost paycheck, medical emergency or a housing crisis away. Once it begins, hunger can become a downward spinning cycle of poor health, lost hopes and missed opportunities.”
The CEO Council of Tampa Bay’s focus is to build Relationships with the community and generate Ideas that turn challenges into Solutions. The challenges of hunger are more insidious to the economic growth and financial well being of the region than most people realize. Hunger is a trauma to the body and soul of the community. Hunger in adults is bad, but hunger and poor diet in young children often results in a lifetime of poor health and compromised well-being. To grow and compete economically, business and civic leaders must realize the impact and potential in solving hunger in Tampa Bay and beyond.
In addition to CEO Peter Dobler, several other members Dobler Consulting’s management team and staff were volunteers at the event. Some of their impressions of the experience are as follows:
“The afternoon was another lesson in how a small act of kindness can impact our local community – 11,665 meals in 3 hours. Think about scaling this for global impact; what if everyone did something each month, in their local communities?” Katja Mosher, Operations and Delivery Manager
“I am glad we were able to lend a hand to such a worthwhile endeavor. It was an eye-opening experience, as I didn’t realize how serious an issue hunger is. I plan on helping out throughout the year.” Steve Freedman, CFO
Since its founding in 2002, members of the CEO Council have volunteered quarterly at regional non-profit organizations building relationships, generating ideas and implementing solutions.
“It is not lost on me as a leader in the IT community, that we have the logistical and data-driven capabilities to drop ship 3 days of healthy, ready-to-prepare dinners delivered to people’s front doors from a warehouse in New Jersey at a reasonable price. Yet thousands of families with children in our prosperous community of Tampa Bay go to bed hungry every night.” Said Dobler “This irony is also not lost on the leaders of the business community.”
CHART: PEW RESEARCH
Members of the CEO Council join others to pack 11,665
“By packing literally thousands of food boxes all afternoon, one cannot help but come away with a much deeper sense of the scale of the hunger problem in our community.”
Raju Chidambaram, CTO