Donate to Our Virtual Food Drive for COVID-19 Relief

By Joseph Priest, APR and PRSA Tampa Bay member

The coronavirus has hit Tampa Bay, and our residents need our help. Your donation to PRSA Tampa Bay’s virtual food drive with Feeding Tampa Bay - at - can play a part.

Feeding Tampa Bay is part of the national Feeding America network and provides food to hundreds of thousands of needy families across West Central Florida.

PRSA Tampa Bay chapter is proud to partner with Feeding Tampa Bay to help our community at a time when our chapter members can’t easily provide in-person assistance. Feeding Tampa Bay’s virtual food drive program allows individuals and organizations to set up a food drive for a cause through a dedicated web page, provide a donation process that is easy and secure, and allow donations that enable the direct delivery of food to residents in need.

Please help support our drive by donating at the link below. In addition, if you’re looking for other ways to help contribute to COVID-19 relief efforts or stay up to date with the latest COVID-19 updates in our community, please check out the resources further below. 

Click here to donate to the PRSA Tampa Bay virtual food drive

Thank you for considering a donation, and please stay safe and healthy as we all help each other during this time of COVID-19.

Local COVID-19 Relief Funds and Opportunities

Local COVID-19 Information Resources

PRSA COVID-19 Resources


Read More

Celebrating Earth Day with PRSATB Stories of Sustainability

By Kecia Carroll, PRSA Tampa Bay member and co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee

On April 22, 2020, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day organizers describe this as “a historic moment when citizens of the world must rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.”

Today we celebrate three PRSA member organizations in our community doing just that. With creative and bold sustainability strategies, these organizations have already responded to that call to action.

Sustainability often refers to climate change and the role companies play in reducing the depletion of non-renewable resources. For many companies, sustainability also includes a dedication to positive economic, social and environmental impact, known as the 3Ps: profit, people and planet. Together these principles form the foundation for corporate social responsibility strategies and practices that promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

The stories of sustainability showcased here not only demonstrate great environmental stewardship in the Tampa Bay area, they serve as examples of how values are expressed through actions. That too is something to be celebrated.

Hillsborough Community College

Paul Rabaut, Hillsborough Community College (HCC) biology professor and sustainability coordinator, has turned his passion for sustainability into a lifelong project to expand scientific literacy in his community. “If you want to see a change in your community, then teach at a community college,” says Rabaut. As the sustainability coordinator at HCC, Paul has increased recycling and composting, cut down on energy consumption, overseen a butterfly garden and followed through with many other projects that are moving to make the College greener. But surrounding all those initiatives has been another venture in the works. Before the start of the 2019 fall semester, Rabaut successfully housed five beehives on the roof of the Student Services building of the HCC Ybor City Campus. He entrusted his honors foundation of biology students with the care of the hives and tasked them with creating honey as part of their class lab section. By the end of the semester, his students were able to collectively harvest about 100 pounds of honey. The honey was then distributed amongst the students as well as HCC staff, faculty, the campus president and the Board of Trustees.

Beehives on the Student Services buidling roof at HCC's Ybor City Campus

The reasoning behind the project was simply, “They’re super fun and a great tool to raise awareness. Five hives on the roof of a building is not going to be the thing that saves humanity. But what it’s going to do is it’s going to get people engaged. Everyone loves honeybees and they are samplers of the environment. So, if your environment is bad, then your honey is going to be bad. How do you get people to care about the environment? You find something they already care about. Which can be food like honey and then you link it backward. So, it’s like, ‘Oh, you really like honey, right? Yeah, I love honey! Well, if you drive your car a lot then you increase CO2 emissions, then you change the climate, and that changes the plants which change the honey.” In the future, Paul hopes to open up the beehive tours for free to the public. “For sustainability practice, I use them [honey bees] as the bridge to get them [people] to care. They might really like honey but not at all have any idea the process behind it all.” The bees will continue to bridge the gap between the lack of awareness and innocent curiosity that gets people engaged and asking questions about the environment around them. If we want to change the state of our climate, then we need people to continue to ask themselves, “How can I be doing more to make a difference?” 

Beehives on the Student Services buidling roof at HCC's Ybor City Campus

Port Tampa Bay

Port Tampa Bay recently created the Maritime Sustainability Team (MAST), which is composed of staff members who are committed to reducing waste and conserving resources. The MAST group implemented recycling within Port offices and participates in several community cleanups throughout the year. The team spearheaded the installation of water bottle filling stations, reducing over 15,000 plastic water bottles. And members also advocate for energy-efficient changes, like installing LED light bulbs. The Port conducted a detailed Energy Study resulting in significant efficiency updates to smart and efficient lighting, HVAC system upgrades, and more, saving the port over $260,000 per year in energy costs.

Birds on Spoil Island 

Port Tampa Bay has partnered with several local organizations, committed to protecting our environment. The Port joined the “Hillsborough Trash Free Waters Partnership,” a which is committed   to keeping waters clean and beautiful for future generations. Additionally, Port staff participates in coastal clean-ups through a partnership with Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful. Port Tampa Bay has also committed to being a “Business for the Bay” through the Reduce Your Use Campaign established by Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and the City of Tampa. Within the last year, Port Tampa Bay adopted a “water goat” in McKay Bay, preventing thousands of pounds of floatable trash from entering Tampa Bay’s watershed. The water goat is a series of nets and buoys that traps litter and debris so that it can be properly removed. This Earth Day, the Port will announce that it is adopting McKay Bay Nature Park. The port will also partner with Cardno and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to remove invasive species from the park.

Team recycling trip 

City of Largo

The City of Largo is committed to sustainability and has incorporated it as one of three primary initiatives of the city-wide Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan includes sustainability initiatives to renew our natural environment, build a resilient organization and ensure sustainability for future generations. In addition, the Largo Environmental Action Plan was commissioned to enable Largo to serve as a role model for green government by integrating sustainability standards, resilience and environmental goals

The City of Largo has integrated a philosophy of sustainability into its daily operations and long-term goals. In alignment with the City’s pledge to achieve 100-percent renewable, zero-emission energy by 2035, the Largo City Commission focused the annual Commission Retreat on the theme of sustainability and resiliency. The City believes in its ability to utilize key leverage areas for increasing institutional knowledge and organizational commitment to sustainability and resilience. The City of Largo’s dedication to sustainability has opened the door to opportunities for city employees and residents to make a positive change throughout the community.

The City of Largo’s dedication to sustainability has opened the door to opportunities
for city employees and residents to make a positive change throughout the community.

Read More