Thursday, June 21, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa teen brings fine dining to area homeless population

TAMPA

From the back of the line outside Trinity Cafe, more than 20 people stood between Lakeesha Stallworth and the best chance she would have in a long time for fine dining.

The doors had opened an hour earlier, and space was limited, so the homeless woman, 38, knew her chances for a meal weren't guaranteed.

Finally, the sea of people in front of her started to recede. She made it in.

Trinity Cafe serves food to the homeless every day. But Wednesday was different.

Inside, 17-year-old Gracie Goltermann shuffled between serving stations and tables, balancing bread baskets and salad trays, entrees and water pitchers — all while working alongside tuxedoed servers and professional chefs.

Goltermann is a Girl Scout inching toward the Gold Award, regarded as the highest achievement in the organization. In her efforts to earn the honor, she organized Feed the Need Tampa Bay — a campaign geared toward bringing fine dining to Trinity Cafe.

On Wednesday, the Columbia Restaurant became the first restaurant to participate. It brought a three-course meal of salad, white rice, black beans, plantains, boliche — and even flamenco dancers.

Once the doors opened, people flooded in. The tables never emptied.

"It's nutritious, it's healthy, it's clean," Stallworth said, "and the people are nice to you."

Volunteers ushered in new arrivals while saying farewell to the departures.

"Have a great day, ma'am," the doorman said.

"Thank you so much," the woman said, walking toward the door. "I've already had it."

When Goltermann was choosing a service project, she said deciding what issue to tackle was an obvious choice: food insecurity, or lack of consistent access to food.

Goltermann said participating restaurants will grant the staff at Trinity Cafe relief while feeding hundreds in the process — and feeding them in style. Goltermann is working to secure more participants. The Columbia will return three more times while Taco Bus and Ulele have already been lined up.

"I'm really hoping (this project) will be sustainable," she said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 13.8 percent of Florida families suffered from food insecurity in 2014, compared with the national average of 14 percent. That's about 1.1 million people in the state.

In Hillsborough County, that rate was 16 percent in 2013, according to Feeding America, a national nonprofit. That meant 197,460 people suffered from food insecurity.

"It's way harder than I thought it was ever going to be," Goltermann said as she sat beside those she helped feed, "but 100 percent worth it."

Columbia owner Richard Gonzmart walked from table to table as people came and went. He beamed as his food was served, especially his grandmother's 110-year-old flan recipe.

"This is my favorite meal at the Columbia," he told one table, "so I'm really excited to share it with you all."

Contact Michael Majchrowicz at (813) 226-3374 or [email protected]tampabay.com. Follow @mjmajchrowicz.

Comments
Column: We can still save wild Florida, but time for panthers, black bears and us is running out

Column: We can still save wild Florida, but time for panthers, black bears and us is running out

When we dipped our paddles into Florida Bay at the mangrove fringe of Everglades National Park and took the first strokes of the 2012 Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition, I’m not sure I fully understood the scope of the challenge we were facing. Six...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's NHL draft, but that's not to say it couldn't be a busy weekend for Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part of a packag...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The all-time NBA draft — the best pick from every slot

The all-time NBA draft — the best pick from every slot

There’s a definitive answer every year to the question of who is No. 1 in the NBA draft. But who is the No. 1 pick of all No. 1 draft picks ever? Or No. 1 among the list of No. 2 draft picks? Those are questions that have no definitive answer, except...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 2 hours ago
Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

Plant City’s champion Al Berry, whose name shouted his passion, dead at 83

His name was Berry and berry was his passion — the strawberry that put his beloved Plant City on the map.Alfred "Al" Berry was born with the name, but he took on his role as chief promoter of Plant City through his four decades of work with the commu...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Column: How the U.S. cornered the market for skilled immigrants

Column: How the U.S. cornered the market for skilled immigrants

Countries are constantly competing for the most talented workers and, according to the best available immigration statistics, the United States has been winning.The United States is home to just 4.4 percent of the world’s population, but in 2010, it ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
For once, scientists found good news about West Antarctica

For once, scientists found good news about West Antarctica

At least since 2014, the news has been dire: The West Antarctic ice sheet is losing ice, and its retreat may be unstoppable. It may be only a matter of time (granted, maybe a very long time) before it adds as much as 10 feet to global sea-level rise....
Updated: 2 hours ago
Deputies: Zephyrhills bank robbed, suspect flees on bicycle

Deputies: Zephyrhills bank robbed, suspect flees on bicycle

A Suntrust Bank in Zephyrhills was robbed early Thursday afternoon, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.At about 12:50 p.m., deputies said, the man walked into the bank at 34511 State Road 54 and presented a note demanding money, though he...
Updated: 2 hours ago
First lady’s ‘I don’t care’ jacket causes a stir

First lady’s ‘I don’t care’ jacket causes a stir

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — First lady Melania Trump boarded a flight to a facility housing migrant children separated from their parents wearing a jacket that read "I really don’t care, do u?"The green hooded spring military jacket has the words written g...
Updated: 3 hours ago