ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As inflation continues to hit Americans with an intensity not felt since the late 1970s, the St. Petersburg Free Clinic (SPFC) is stepping up to meet that challenge by providing food resources for those in need in Pinellas County by expanding its locations, hours and drive-through options.
Last week, the organization reopened its indoor food pantry at their downtown headquarters, while also opening two new drive-in locations where motorists can pull up and get free fresh produce and other food staples.
What You Need To Know
- The St. Pete Free Clinic is the largest local food bank in Pinellas County
- It also hosts one of Pinellas’ largest food pantries
- The “food at home” costs in the U.S. are up nearly 12% from last year
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the food at home price index has increased by 11.9 % over the past 12 months, the largest increase since 1979, leading to a demand for food pantries around the country.
The SPFC shut down its indoor Fresh Choice Pantry when COVID-19 emerged in the spring of 2020 and moved to a drive through system to ensure public safety as well an added spike in demand. Now they have resumed operations back in house with two new drive-in locations to serve the public.
“We began serving thousands and thousands of households every month, maybe triple the number of people we served pre-COVID,” SPFC CEO Jennifer Yeagley said about the demand over the past two years. “And those numbers have stayed steady and have been rising lately. And so now we continue to serve more than 20,000 people every month.”
Besides their food pantries, the SPFC also offers programs in health and dental care, as well as providing transitional housing for men and women experiencing homelessness and recovering from substance abuse.
Here are the hours now for the SPFC fresh pantries:
Their indoor choice facility at the SPFC’s downtown business (863 3rd Ave N, St. Pete} is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, and 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays.
There are two drive-thru locations:
The South St. Pete location (2198 15th Ave South) is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Wednesdays;
The other is at SPFC’s Jared S. Hechtkopf Community Food Bank at 3155 44th Ave N. from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.