ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Pinellas County man has been serving and protecting his community for five decades. When Jay Brubaker retired from the St. Petersburg Police Department in 2002, he became a reserve officer. Then a firearms instructor. These days, he’s also organizing a huge feeding ministry.
For many years, Brubaker was part of a unit known as the “Green Team.” The unit worked to take down illegal drug operations in South St. Petersburg.
Brubaker, 76, feels like he is still serving his community by being a firearms instructor at the St. Petersburg College Law Enforcement Academy. One a recent morning, he was working with other instructors, training potential officers on how to deal with a firearms malfunction during a firefight.
“And just keep working it till you clear that malfunction and you’ll be good,” Brubaker told a woman during the training. “I’m trying to keep them in the fight if they have a malfunction during a firefight,” he said. “So they don’t panic. They just go to muscle memory.”
Training the young men and women is a passion for Brubaker. “Of course, of course. The training never stops,” he said.
Another passion for Brubaker is the weekly Saturday morning feeding program in the parking lot of a former Walmart in the neighborhood he used to patrol. Cars line up for a half mile for a box of food.
The operation is run by Brubaker’s Positive Impact Church. “Praise God that this is something we are able to supply. You see the number of people?” he said.
Brubaker said he got the idea of doing the food distribution while working as a reserve officer a few years ago. “I was driving through the community in uniform working. They had a community event here in the parking lot. And it suddenly struck me. This is where we need to be.”
The ministry gets its food from Feeding Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries and grocery store chains like Publix.
Brubaker is hoping the ministry can work out a deal with the city of St. Petersburg to use the building as a community market. Qualified community residents would make an appointment to shop for food for free.
“When you give, you get back. You can’t out give God,” said Brubaker. “The more you give, the more he gives back to you.”