Tampa, FL

Tampa Influencer Holiday Giving Continues To Feed the Hungry Backed By Generous Local Sponsorships

Aloha Melani

A Partnership with Local Businesses and Influencers to Feed the Hungry is a Now a Holiday Tradition

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Billy's Food Run For the Homeless December 2021(Connor Wright / @thatconnorgurl)

Billy's Food Run For the Homeless 2021

For the second year in a row, Billy Aristide, a Central Florida school teacher and food Influencer, formed a collaboration between Tampa businesses and fellow food Influencers to help feed the hungry in Tampa Bay.

Last year in 2020, Billy's compelling need to feed the hungry, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the generosity of local businesses seemed to magically create the perfect conditions to construct what appears to be an ongoing Tampa Bay tradition of giving.

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Billy Aristide of @BillysFoodRun(Connor Wright / @thatconnurgurl)
To be honest I didn’t think we were going to be able to feed the homeless this year because I was out of the country during Thanksgiving and had a lot going on. The motivation of some of my foodie friends wanting to do another feed the homeless event was the push I needed. ~ Billy Aristide - Educator, Event Founder & Food Influencer @BillysFoodRun_

In November 2020, Billy founded the Billy's Food Run For the Homeless event to feed the hungry in downtown Tampa for Thanksgiving. Billy simply asked the owners of his favorite neighborhood food establishment, Harvest Bowl if they were willing to donate some meals. Harvest Bowl owners, Atheer and Athar did not hesitate to help.

There are so many people in the Tampa Bay Area that can use a helping hand even if it’s just a meal. Staying healthy especially now is more important than ever! ~ Athar & Atheer Naif Owners, @HarvestBowl Eatery and Market

Harvest Bowl's Heart for Tampa

Atheer and Athar Naif, Tampa natives had been in business for less than a year when Billy Aritside approached them to donate to his giving event. 2020 was a difficult year for restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Naif sisters happened to launch their dream of a healthy, fast-casual concept in January 2020 in Seminole Heights.

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Sisters Atheer and Athar Naif Owners of Harvest Bowl Eatery and Market in Seminole Heights, Tampa(Harvest Bowl / Instagram)
The business has its waves and can still be unpredictable at times but we are super thankful for our amazing customers new and old :) ~ Athar & Atheer Naif Owners, @HarvestBowl Eatery and Market

Harvest Bowl Eatery and Market was a much-needed addition to the fast-growing neighborhood of Seminole Heights. The transitioning Tampa neighborhood has its mix of affordable to high-end restaurants, however, a fast-casual nutritious eatery wasn't a part of that mix until Harvest Bowl moved in. Harvest Bowl supports the neighborhood by serving made-to-order bowls, meal prep, to-go items, and fresh juices.

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Harvest Bowl Steak Salad(Harvest Bowl / Instagram)

Harvest Bowl wasn't new to giving back when Billy approached them. In March of 2020, the Naif sisters felt the need to give back despite their struggles with the pandemic. They started "Feed Our Heroes" where they provided 100 fresh meals to the Tampa healthcare heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic at Advent Health. Their generosity didn't go unnoticed by Tampa Bay and they continue to thrive as a Tampa Bay business despite tough times.

We are proudly still continuing our endeavor #feedourheros. We are still feeding hospital workers around the Tampa Bay Area. We are super lucky to have awesome partners and hope to spread the word more so we can continue to deliver meals to hospital workers. Any sponsor who wants to feed a hospital police station or fire station can reach out to us and we offer free delivery to any hospital of their choice! We started it during the pandemic and want to continue delivering these meals! ~ Athar & Atheer Naif Owners, @HarvestBowl Eatery and Market

In December of 2020 a Seminole Heights resident and Tampa businessman, William Daniel approached Harvest Bowl, one of his favorite neighborhood eateries about partnering to give to charity for the Christmas holiday. The Naif sisters immediately reached out to Billy Aristide for a second collaboration.

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Welcome to Seminole Heights(Harvest Bowl / Instagram)

Middle Bay Homes Supports local and Gives Big

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CEO Co-Owner Middle Bay Homes, William Daniel - Sponsor for Billy's Food Run December 2020 & 2021(William Daniel / Instagram)

Middle Bay Homes builds custom and semi-custom built homes in historic Tampa neighborhoods and has now been in business for seven years. CEO and Co-founder of Middle Bay Homes, William Daniel is a long-time resident of Seminole Heights and is highly invested in the flourishing of his neighborhood.

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Contemporary Home in Old Seminole Heights by Middle Bay Homes(Middle Bay Homes / Facebook)

William shared that he practically lives across the street from Harvest Bowl and would like to see Seminole Heights improve its walkability. He would love to see more residents enjoy local establishments in and around the neighborhood without feeling the need to drive.

A Step Toward a Walkable Environment in Seminole Heights

Recently, Middle Bay Homes decided to do something big for Seminole Heights with a rejuvenation project. They took over the property on the corner of Henry and Florida Avenue. The corner was known as a traffic and people hazard before the dangerous old building on the property was removed by Middle Bay Homes.

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Corner of Henry & Florida Ave. - Seminole Heights - Future Home of Luxury Townhomes by Middle Bay Homes(Street View / Google Maps)

The renewal of that intersection in 2022 will include traffic redirection and widening sidewalks to make it safer for all residents of Seminole Heights. Luxury townhomes will eventually be erected in the space once it becomes a more walkable environment.

The area is a core part of the neighborhood and is within walking distance of Harvest Bowl. This project is a way for Middle Bay Homes to help improve the walkability score of an important historic Tampa neighborhood that is growing with more residents every year.

William Daniel's Continued Support

It makes perfect sense to Tampa native, William Daniel to support a charity involving a growing Seminole Heights restaurant and feeding the hungry in Tampa Bay. He feels his industry has been blessed during a time when many businesses are struggling and even closing. William feels a strong need to give.

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Middle Bay Homes Banner on Fence(Middle Bay Homes / Facebook)
I want to give back to my city and specifically my own neighborhood. Harvest Bowl's growth is as important to me as my own building projects. Providing funds to feed those in need a delicious Harvest Bowl meal is a win for Tampa and Seminole Heights. ~William Daniel CEO Co-owner @MiddleBayHomes

Willam Daniel's philanthropic donation not only funded meals from Harvest Bowl but also the locally owned PDQ who also donated meal boxes to Billy's cause for Thanksgiving. With the sponsorship of Middle Bay Homes, Billy was able to pay the businesses for the food they prepared. This meant the local participating restaurants could prepare meals for the hungry without hurting their bottom line.

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PDQ Meal Box Donation for Billy's Food Run for the Homeless December 2021(Connor Wright / @thatconnorgurl)

Within one month Billy's Food Run for the Homeless grew to feed triple the amount of people for the Christmas holiday event. William Daniel's generosity didn't end in 2020. Middle Bay Homes sponsored Billy's 2021 Christmas event as well.

I am really thankful for the support of PDQ (Rick Kochan. General manager), Harvest bowl, and MiddleBay homes. They were able to provide the food for us this year to provide the homeless with some holiday cheer. Billy Aristide - Educator, Event Founder & Food Influencer @BillysFoodRun_

Foodies Delivering to Those in Need

Billy Aristide didn't have a hard time getting his food Influencer peers involved in distributing the donated meals. A year ago several influencers reached out to Billy to see how they can be involved the next time he ran an event. The moment Billy set up a date participating restaurants could have the meals ready, he just checked his list to see which influencers were in town and available.

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Connor Wright Getting a Food Wagon Ready at Harvest Bowl(Connor Wright / @thatconnorgurl)

Connor Wright is a Tampa Food Influencer who helped Billy distribute at this event exclaimed, "Giving back to your community isn’t just donating money. Time spent is at times more valuable in trying to make a difference. You never know how positively a “hi/bye” or even a friendly smile can positively affect someone’s day."

The influencers spread positive vibes to people in need of Downtown Tampa. The surprise of healthy bowls from Harvest Bowl and chicken finger meal boxes from PDQ was received with smiles.

Influencers frequent these establishments, so it is wonderful to share the love of these favorites with those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to eat amazing local fare.

Connor, who distributed for the first time also recruited an art influencer, Bre Gobin to help with the food distribution this year.

I am grateful to be aligned with such inspirational individuals who are truly giving back to the community. Thanks Billy for organizing feed the hungry and Connor for including me in this outreach. ~ Bre Gobin @NomadicFeteArt

Food influencer and Social Media Manager, Jessica Stollenmaier also helped distribute meals for Billy's Food Run For the Homeless Christmas event.

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Jessica Stollenmaier @TampaFoodGirl in Downtown Tampa Ready for Billy's Food Run for the Homeless(Connor Wright / @thatconnorgurl)
I was happy to be a part of this because food insecurity affects many in our community. Giving someone a meal is a small way of letting them know that you see them and that they matter. Jessica Stollenmaier ~ @TampaFoodGirl

Tampa's Local Generosity Wins

Billy has the heart to give and hopes to continue to coordinate giving events. The generous sponsorship of Middle Bay Homes was imperative to the success of this year's event. "It's a true honor and privilege to sponsor Billy's Food Run for the Homeless for a second year," said William Daniel, "Billy Aristide is making a positive impact in my city. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that holiday cheer?"

"Our hopes for 2022 is to continue to grow as a small family business and continuing to help the community by feeding more people in need in the Tampa Bay community," said Athar and Atheer Naif, who prepared meals for Billy's Food Run for the Homeless for each event, "We also will continue to promote healthy eating!"

We want to thank William Daniel from Middle Bay Homes especially for supporting a small business by spreading holiday cheer as well as Billy and his team for taking their time to distribute these meals. ~ Athar & Atheer Naif Owners, @HarvestBowl Eatery and Market

The sponsorship by Middle Bay Homes and the time and effort taken by Harvest Bowl, PDQ, and Tampa Bay area Influencers is a collaboration Tampanians can be proud of.

My experience getting to work with other foodies and partnering with amazing local organizations has left a lasting impact on me. In the sense that it’s so important to lift up local and even the smallest action can positively impact a community. ~ Connor Wright @ThatConnorGurl

"In a perfect world, I would love to partner with organizations and different restaurants to provide food for the homeless every month," said Billy Aristide, "God has provided me with a lot and I just want to help as many people as I can."

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Food Influencers and Harvest Bowl Owner ready for Billy's Food Run for the Homeless Dec 2021(Billy Aristide / Instagram)

#HolidayJoy

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