By Fred Arnold
A billowing chill bit into the line of watcher and waiters. The milky gloom of a waning winter sun leaked behind the horizon, hiding its rays of warmth from that sad line of people. Brittle hair pushed out dust in puffs of powdery brilliance when they walked, their emancipated forms etched tired looking shadows into the pale concrete; lazy eyes stared forward and minds drifted on all types of problems and concerns, but tonight that concern was food.
The scene described is from the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, home to those who pursue a goal in helping the homeless by donating food and other wares to families in dismal situations.
Thanksgiving and Christmas foster a merry feeling that has found its way into the hearts of those at the Student Support Center, Seminole Campus. One of the Student Assistants, Carol A. Hill, put together a food drive that was able to feed twenty-seven families this past Thanksgiving. Carol is a mother who works forty hours a week and is a full time student in SPC’s Honors College.
“Many students step through our door, and they are struggling to provide for their families,” said Hill. “The food drive was a lot of work and a growing experience for me.”
One woman, who asked to remain anonymous, had just been laid off; her company closed down with little to no notice and never paid employees their final checks. For her, times are tough while living with her fiancé who had an accident three years prior that put him on disability, and four children. The Thanksgiving Outreach Food Drive, created to help alleviate situations such as this, went off without a hitch, and that family had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year.
“We did the food drive last year,” said Hill, “and I used the plans from last year, but with my own spin. 16 families were fed last year; this year we fed 27.”
One thing Carol did differently this year was how she accumulated the food needed. Carol worked with local grocery stores such as Albertsons, CVS and Winn Dixie to come up with an exceptional spread. Albertsons donated twelve turkeys, Winn Dixie provided over a hundred dollars in gift cards between seven stores, and local CVS Manager, Dominic, donated fifty dollars out of his own pocket. The food stuffs were packed within baskets and wrapped by many student volunteers and workers at the Student Support Center. Carol Hill has been acknowledged by the Honors College Director and has been asked to help the other St. Petersburg College campuses create their own Food Drive programs.
“It’s a great feeling, helping others,” said Hill. “It was exhausting, but worth it.”