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Event at Tampa Convention Center Donates 60,000 Pounds of Produce

With help from groups around Florida, the Southeast Produce Council and its exhibitors donated 60,233 pounds of fresh produce after the Southern Exposure Retail & Food Service Conference & Expo, held at the Tampa Convention Center in March 2024.

Southern Exposure is a trade show designed to bring the Southeast Produce Industry together with retailers, growers, food service distributors, and wholesalers. It brought approximately 1,300 attendees to the City of Tampa, with an Estimated Economic Impact of $2,952,856.

About 50 volunteers from Society of St. Andrew in Orlando packed vegetables and fruits donated by the event and exhibitors to feed people in the Tampa community and beyond. Items such as oranges, pears, tomatoes, bell peppers, and more were donated.

These donations benefited local families in need. Metropolitan Ministries, located in Tampa, helped pack the show, load the trucks, and then distribute over 12,000 pounds of food to those in need.

Several other Florida organizations assisted in transporting these donations. His Compassion Food Bank, located in Ocala, provided two trucks to stay on location for several days to help keep the food cold and fresh and then distributed over 39,000 pounds of food to 19 areas of west and Central Florida. Mack Farms in Lake Wales, Florida provided storage, transportation, and logistics. New Covenant United Methodist Church in The Villages picked up and distributed over 8,000 pounds of food.

Move For Hunger, a national hunger relief non-profit organization, also donated a truck to transport 40,000 pounds of food to the show.

The Tampa Convention Center is always looking for ways to give back to the Tampa community and help recycle items from events. The center also works with the Hillsborough Education Foundation to donate items to the Teaching Tools Resource Center, benefiting teachers and students at Hillsborough County Schools.

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