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Leaders, businesses feed those in need in Pinellas County

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Businesses in Pinellas County are teaming up with one goal in mind: feed people in need.

Hand Up Pinellas went into the community Monday afternoon hoping to provide more than just food.

Members of the Treasure Island and Madeira Beach Chamber of Commerce created Hand Up Pinellas after concerns about the homeless population in the county.

Jessica Hooper, who is on the board, said there are more than 121,000 people in the county who don’t have consistent access to enough food, and there’s only 40 food pantries to provide free meals.

“We want to amplify the work of those food pantries,” Hooper said. “The whole point is to give people hope.”

Volunteers prepped the food at Gateway Subs in St. Petersburg and went out to serve. Monday’s journey brought them to Suncoast Haven of Rest Rescue Mission.

“We’re hoping that they realize there are people in the community that care about them and so that maybe they’ll be inspired, they’ll be touched to maybe make a change in their life,” Hooper said.

The latest data from Feeding America shows the number of food insecure people in Pinellas County dropped from 2017 to 2019.

“Am I concerned that some of those numbers are going to go up? I am,” Hooper said.

Hooper hopes that number keeps trending downward.

“I think it’s going to take the whole community, business leaders, the government people, just the public to get involved like us,” Hooper said.

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