BC Spring 2021 Drive- By Food and Hygiene Distribution Update

Arianna Allen

Editor in Chief

Broward College has continued their drive-by food and hygiene distribution to ensure through the 2021 spring semester that all BC students who are in need are able to be nourished and taken care of through new improvements.

Broward College was awarded a grant that is approximately $400,000 from Florida Blue that will assist with a new partnership with Feeding South Florida. Feeding South Florida is one of the biggest contributors when it comes to the pursuit of ending hunger in the local community.

According to feedingsouthflorida.org, over the past year they have distributed over 99.3 million to those in need in the local south Florida community.

“…Feeding South Florida is the standard, the experts when it comes to food distributions and when it comes to food pantries so that’s why we’re very excited, so we’re learning from them,” said  Esmeralda Sweeney, Associate Vice President of Student Achievement Initiatives at Broward College.

Sweeney said that about 1,659 students participated in the drive-by distribution last semester through an online application that needed to be completed prior to attending the event.

However, with the new grant, students are still encouraged to register for “tracking” purposes, but no student will be turned away because there was not enough food, according to Ana Cowo, Director of Student Success.

 There is confidence that through the new grant and the partnership that BC will not have to turn away any student.

In addition, this initiative has partnered with the Urban Oasis Project which supplies fruits and vegetables, according to Sweeney.

The Urban Oasis Project is an organization based out of Miami that’s mission is to “Mak(e)ing healthy, local food more accessible to all!” according to urbanoasisproject.org.

Sweeney said, “… Nonperishable food is really good and it’s great to have but it doesn’t have the rich nutrients and health benefits that fresh fruits and vegetables have so we want to ensure that our students have a balanced option of food.”

“That (Urban Oasis Project) was thanks to a grant that we got from Holy Cross Hospital so we’re very grateful to that and all of the work that the Holy Cross has done for us, as well,” she said.

Students will not only receive a non-perishable bag of food and hygiene items, but they will also receive fruits and vegetables.

With the new additions to the initiative, BC will still continue to partner with Life Net 4 Families who played an integral role in the success of the fall 2020 initiative. However, they are currently navigating what their partnership will look like in a different capacity, according to Sweeney.  

“We will continue the partnership with Life Net 4 Families because they’re an amazing organization and without them, we couldn’t have done this, but we’ll continue it in a different capacity which we’re exploring right now,” Sweeney said.

In the current time of COVID-19 restrictions and precautions and to ensure each individual’s safety, this initiative will not be allowing volunteers at the moment, besides the peer leadership and mentoring program (with limited assistance). However, Dr. Amoy Reid has hopes that in the future (expecting it to be COVID free), that there will be volunteers.

In addition, depending on COVID restrictions, precautions, and school status, the Seahawk Marketplace, the soon- to-be on-campus food pantry, is anticipated to be hopefully opening in September of 2021.

This initiative has transformed lives and has assisted several BC students during a difficult time. There is still a need for donations of hygiene items.

“…We continue to pack hygiene items and we are collecting college wide drops offs at different campuses…,” Dr. Reid said.

To access the amazon wishlist click here.

 With the long-lasting effects of the pandemic, BC students will be able to soak up the opportunity to collect food and hygiene items at the drive-by, contactless distribution that is held on all three campuses at different times and days of the month.

“It’s (the distribution) every week but we rotate the campuses,” Sweeney said.

The dates, times, and locations includes:

First Friday and fourth Friday of every month is at Central Campus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

·  Second Thursday of every month is at North Campus from 4 p.m.– 6 p.m.

·  Third Wednesday of every month at South Campus from 2 p.m.- 4 p.m.

“We rotate dates and times because we want to make sure that each of our students have an opportunity to go,” Sweeney said.

This has not only been a time to assist students in need, but also to unite as one Broward College community as nursing pathways and clubs, social behavioral pathways, the peer leadership and mentoring program, and staff members for one common goal: the students overall well-being.

“Something that was really nice to see is the college community, faculty, staff and administrators…,” Sweeney said.

“Everybody is just so willing to step in and help us in any way that they can, so that’s been amazing,” Cowo said.

If you have a specific need or question, you can contact sos@broward.edu or call 945-201-4SOS (4767). Click here for the Broward SOS website. Click here for more information about the Food and Hygiene Distribution initiative.

Photo Courtesy of Broward College

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