For more than 35 years, Tampa East Sertoma Club has delivered holiday meals to local families to make their Christmas a little more special, under a program called SALFAB. The acronym means Skip-A-Lunch, Feed-A- Bunch, where club members skip a lunch and donate those funds to feed families during the holidays.
This long-standing tradition of donating holiday groceries was started by Tampa East Sertoma founding club member Honorable Judge Jack Griffin, who championed the event to expand the Sertoma tradition of giving back to those in need. Griffin grew up during the Great Depression and knew firsthand what it was like to go hungry. He wanted younger club members to become aware of the implications of hunger that could come from skipping meals. Thus, the tradition of “skipping a lunch to feed a bunch” became the SALFAB program.
For more than 35 years, the members of Tampa East have personally supported the SALFAB initiative, which lives on as a legacy to our beloved former founding club member. The SALFAB program has grown with the help of a 10-year partnership with Publix Super Markets. Beginning in 2021, Tampa East Sertoma Club also began applying for and receiving Sertoma Club Grants. With these $2,000 grants, the club has been able to increase the number of families included in our food distribution. In 2023, donations totaled approximately $4,500, providing $150 worth of groceries for each of our families.
“Sertomans have a long history of strengthening communities through their volunteerism, stewardship, and leadership,” said Jason Camis, Sertoma Executive Director. “This grant will help the Tampa East Sertoma Club continue to grow their Service to Mankind mission in the Tampa Bay community.”
The Publix Super Market located in Carrollwood provided in-kind food donations, as well as considerable employee time, to put the food bags together. Store Manager Jennifer Redmond and several of her employees worked hard to organize the groceries based on family sizes and to do “thrifty” shopping to try to select “buy one, get one” products to make the club’s donations go even farther.
“Giving families in need food for Christmas is one of my favorite Sertoma activities. The joy of the holiday season expressed in the happy faces of the recipients reminds me of why I joined this club. I get more personal reward from this event than any other,” said Tampa East Sertoma Club President Jim Weiss.
This year, 29 families associated with Sunrise Children's Services and the Temple Terrace Boys and Girls Club received food donations from the SALFAB Program.
Tampa East Sertoma Club was founded in 1965 and is one of the area’s oldest civic organizations, serving the Tampa Bay community for nearly 60 years. The club has raised more than $2.5 million for local organizations and have given more than 800,000 volunteer hours to its community. Organizations served include Sunrise Children’s Services, Temple Terrace Boys and Girls Club, Sertoma Speech and Hearing Foundation of Florida, Lopez Autism Program, Sertoma Camp Endeavor, Self Reliance Inc, Early Childhood Council, American Legion Boys State, Support the Troops, USF Audiology Scholarship, Baycare Kids, and others.
Tampa East Sertoma Club and Temple Terrace Boys and Girls Club members after delivering the grocery donations. In front (L-R): Club Chairman Carl Brown and Club President Jim Weiss. In rear (L-R): Don Leggett, Zarrian Brinson, Noah Bryant, Sheldon Wind, Hugh Prince, and Jan Brown.