With the chancellor’s donation are Jamie Bateman (left), student Jocquas Walker, student and SFSC staff assistant Angie Otero; and Dr. Timothy Wise

South Florida State College is replenishing its Hurricane Irma food and clothing relief pantry with the aid of district residents and Florida College System (FCS) Chancellor Madeline Pumariega. 

The Florida Department of Education, together with the FCS, initiated a canned goods drive immediately after Hurricane Irma to help the 28 colleges in the FCS restock their food pantries. Jamie Bateman, SFSC executive director of Institutional Advancement, was in Tallahassee late last week to receive items from the chancellor’s office. 

In a letter to SFSC students, faculty, and staff, Chancellor Pumariega said, “We know that so many of your food pantries provided canned goods for students as Hurricane Irma approached. We hope that this small gesture helps your college in its recovery efforts. We know what a difference the college makes in the lives of its students and community.” 

As soon as SFSC resumed operations and classes on Sept. 20, a food and clothing relief pantry for students and SFSC employees was created at the college’s Highlands Campus. Many students and staff donated items to help others. 

“This is students and staff helping students and staff,” said Dr. Timothy Wise, dean of Student Services. “SFSC recognizes the severe personal impact of Hurricane Irma. We are actively seeking further donations to support those in need.” 

Because of local devastation from the hurricane, students, employees, and other area residents have lost personal possessions and lack food and water.  

Dr. Wise is appealing to those who can to contribute these items to the relief pantry: non-perishable food, diapers, infant formula, baby food, cases or gallons of water, clothing (particularly men’s), and shoes (such as tennis shoes).  

Drop off or pick up items on the tables in the entrance lobby of Building B (Catherine P. Cornelius Students Services and Classroom Complex), Highlands Campus, Avon Park. To get to Building B, take Entrance 1 off of West College Drive. Anyone can take what they need from the tables. No questions will be asked. 

Another way the college has supported students after the hurricane was by providing free pizza, water, and soft drinks on each of the first four days of classes. “Many of the students hadn’t had a pizza in weeks,” Bateman said.