More and more people are losing their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic and many of them need food and other services. Several local groups are organizing food sharing today and tomorrow and are taking social distancing precautions both for food donors and people who need food. Z Ramos is a volunteer with Tampa Food Not Bombs and several other local groups that are sharing food on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The other groups are Sex Workers Solidarity Network, Tampa Dream Defenders, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief and Occupy ICE Tampa. They’re organizing a food share Wednesday until 7:00 p.m. at the Waters Avenue Church, 609 West Waters Avenue in Tampa.
“Our base for Wednesday from 3:30 to to 5:00 p.m. we will be cooking at Waters Avenue Church which is 609 W. Waters Avenue, Tampa, Florida. We have posted this on Tampa Dream Defenders page as well as a couple other pages.
“So March 18, Wednesday; March 19, Thursday; March 25, Wednesday; and March 26, Thursday, we’ll be at Waters Avenue Church from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m cooking and then 5 to 7 doing food distribution and mobile food distribution.
“You can call the Sex Workers Solidarity Network hotline at 813-816-2796 if you want something to be picked up. If you need food dropped off you can go to the church and physically just leave outside any donations that you have and we don’t need to physically come in contact with you. After you leave we can retrieve them from 3:30 to 7:00 pm. at 609 W. Waters Avenue, Tampa, Florida.
“Tampa Dream Defenders is collaborating with myself Tampa Bay Housing Justice committee working group. You can find us both on Facebook and we have posted that petition specifically to get Gov.
DeSantis to suspend rent, mortgage and evictions currently and it’s set up so you can just at the click of a button sign that petition.
“Specifically because one naturally with the virus a lot of people for good reason were not going out to entertainment venues, restaurants and the like and all of the workers are being directly impacted by that initial lack of income.
“Then Gov. DeSantis declared yesterday all bars and clubs have to close for 30 days and in that requirement there was nothing said that those workers have to get a required stipend or paid time off during that time and from reports we’ve gotten from everyone from folks working at the courthouse to people working in all different sorts of industries.
“A lot of folks like at Publix, for instance, were fired outright because they don’t want to pay them the paid time off and then on top of that with the firings and with the lack of paid time folks can’t find a new job because all these places are closed or not hiring because all they’re to do is limit their spending.
“One really important thing is suspending payment for medical care. It should be a sliding scale from zero to whatever it actually costs so that folks that can pay are able to contribute what they can and folks that can’t aren’t aren’t put into debt by seeking medical care that they need because of coronavirus, COVID 19 specifically.
“And also the lack of response form the federal government and Trump’s administration at the initial stages when it could have been controlled better is one of the main reasons that experts like the World Health Organization have pointed out that has partly led to this wide spread so these workers are being directly impacted because of this lack of response. As well as the fact that the federal government gave 1.5 trillion dollars in a bailout to Wall Street which absolutely should have been used to make certain that everyone has the money they need for their housing and their food and there’s free delivery systems that could have been paid for with part of this this 1.5 trillion for folks who are for instance in food deserts and now that in places like California where Uber has suspended the ride sharing it’s made the transportation that is left more expensive and so many different things. Each person should just be able to flatout request the funding for whatever their needs are as well as the suspension of anything the government can control in terms of collecting fees at this time.
“Also they need absolutely to let every single person that’s nonviolent or held on pretrial detention or cash bail out of federal prisons and federal jails as well as private prisons and jails. That needs to be a mandate immediately because it’s a huge risk with so many people locked up in cages so close together with an already well-documented lack of medical care.
“That’s one of the biggest reasons so many groups are getting together to do the food shares at the church because almost every single, if not every single, food share or facility like Community Cafe or the coffee shop where folks can get free showers and free food have closed down. The public libraries in Hillsborough have closed down. Now they are recommending federally that people don’t gather in more than groups of 10 a lot of houseless people who were already getting harassed while now having this lack of access to food are getting harrassed by Hillsborough County Sheriff’s department and TPD. Another thing that we’ve asked is that the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s department and TPD don’t arrest people, give them paper arrests.
“And now Food Not Bombs and the shares that have started with the Tampa Dream Defenders are the only food sharers I know of besides the Waters Avenue Food Pantry that’s held every Monday from 6 to 8 pm.
“So it’s getting really serious. We fed on Monday for instance because blankets Tampa Bay canceled their share day and only left folks a note there. So they got there tired and hungry and would have left had we not come. We fed 250 people.”