tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017

Girl Scout’s project recruits restaurants to help those in need

Servers from the Columbia Restaurant carried plates of boliche with black beans and rice and plantains.

Guests already had eaten a bowl of the restaurant’s signature 1905 Salad — and flan awaited them when they finished their meals.

But the volunteers servers and others from the restaurant weren’t at the Ybor City site; they were at Trinity Cafe, which provides hot meals daily.

Sept. 9 was the first day of “Feed the Need Tampa Bay,” where local restaurants are taking over providing more than 300 meals for those in need at the cafe at 2801 N. Nebraska Ave.

Feed the Need Tampa Bay was created by Gracie Goltermann as her Gold Girl Scout Award project to help earn the highest award in the organization.

Goltermann was on site Sept. 9 to see months of work recruiting participants come to fruition. She served meals, bussed tables and visited with the guests.

“It brings me really an amazing feeling to see people happy and get fed,” Goltermann, a Tampa Prepatory senior, said.

For the project, she sought restaurants that would agree to provide a meal four times a year by donating the food, preparing it and providing servers.

Goltermann’s mother, Brenda, also served at the first Feed the Need Tampa Bay. She said she was very proud of her daughter.

“She has gift for caring for people,” Brenda Goltermann said. “I can’t explain it.”

Mandy Cloninger, the cafe’s executive director, praised the Girl Scout and the restaurant.

“It’s a really special experience with the Columbia because of the history and heritage,” Cloninger said. “And for the whole idea, it was a Girl Scout.”

While Columbia was the first to participate, other restaurants have committed or mulling committing, said Cindy Davis, the cafe’s program manager. Hilton Downtown will provide a meal today; and Taco Bus has also committed, she said.

“Richard Gonzmart (president of the Columbia Restaurant Group) came by and was so pleased he also said Ulele would do it twice a year,” Davis said, referring to another restaurant in Gonzmart’s group.

“It was awesome. They got here at 8:45 a.m.; they had it set up in a few minutes,” Davis said.

The Columbia also provided flamenco dancers for entertainment.

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