Yesterday, on Hunger Action Day, hundreds of vehicles lined up through the parking lot at the Lake-Sumter State College South Lake Campus, sometimes spilling onto N. Hancock Road.
These students and community members were lined up for a food distribution organized by the LSSC Foundation with the help of Lake Cares Food Pantry and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
“We know that food insecurity is a significant issue for many of our students,” said Dr. Laura Byrd, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the LSSC Foundation. “The pandemic has made these issues more urgent and we are grateful to our donors and partners that allowed us to offer these valuable events.”
Thursday’s event, coinciding with Hunger Action Day, was the College’s largest yet. Just over 63,000 pounds of fresh produce, meat, and non-perishable food items were delivered to the campus. Fifty LSSC student and employee volunteers sorted the food and served 2,467 people during the six-hour event.
Since the effects of COVID-19 have impacted the economy locally and nationally, the LSSC Foundation has distributed 152,000 pounds of food to just under 5,000 students and community members.
“Many of our students work in the service and hospitality industries,” said Byrd. “These are some of the hardest hit industries in Central Florida. Many of them are have found themselves furloughed or working unpredictable hours.”
Hunger Action Month is a time to mobilize the public to take action on the issue of hunger. All month long, Feeding America and its network of food banks, including Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, are encouraging people to take action through volunteerism, advocacy, special events and promotions. Hunger Action Day (September 10) is a time for hunger-relief advocates to focus our efforts on one day for greater impact.
“We will continue to support our students in and out of the classroom,” said Dr. Stan Sidor, President of Lake-Sumter State College. “The LSSC Foundation and its generous donors are providing record numbers of scholarships to students, including over $700,000 this year. We are also continually aligning our academic programs with the needs of the local workforce and employment demands.”