Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pair aim to ease students' holiday-break hunger

SPRING HILL — If you are hoping to help someone this holiday season but only have a little to give, Shanika Figueroa, homeless student liaison for the Hernando County schools, and volunteer Debbie Valante hope you will consider donating a box of Cheerios, a jar of peanut butter or a six-pack of on-the-go applesauce to their Feed the School Kids project.

There are nine days this Christmas holiday break during which students who normally receive free breakfast and lunch at school might go without. It's those meals the duo is working to provide.

Figueroa and Valante met a few weeks ago when Valante had a vision: She wanted to deliver homemade meals — hot and ready to eat — to families in need on Thanksgiving Day.

Someone suggested she get in touch with Figueroa. She did, and the two got to work. With the help of numerous volunteers and donations, they provided meals to 44 homes.

Turkey, sides and pies were no sooner delivered when a volunteer asked, "What are we doing for Christmas?"

They discovered that many families had already connected with organizations for Christmas gifts. But nonperishable food would sure help, they said.

As the homeless student liaison, Figueroa works closely with the families of the 175 students currently on her list.

For those without other options, she and Valante plan to deliver boxes with food for nine breakfasts and nine lunches, enough to replace the meals the students would have received free at school.

Their wish list of items includes oatmeal, cereal bars, shelf-stable milk, canned pasta, Kraft Easy Mac, tuna, chicken or ham salad cups with crackers, peanut butter and jelly, fruit cups, granola bars, snack-size bags of pretzels and juice boxes.

Anything that's nonperishable and easy to prepare for breakfast or lunch would be greatly appreciated, Figueroa said.

Donations for Feed the School Kids will be accepted until Friday and can be dropped off at three locations around the county: Wiggle Worms Christian Learning Center, 7279 Pinehurst Drive, Spring Hill; Christian Church of the Wildwood, 10051 Country Road, north of Weeki Wachee; and the Hernando County School Board, 919 N Broad St., Brooksville.

Shary Lyssy Marshall can be reached at

Pair aim to ease students' holiday-break hunger 12/11/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 11, 2010 12:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good luck finding solar eclipse glasses across Tampa Bay, U.S.


    Andi Figart pulled up to the New Port Richey Library on Thursday morning to an unusual sight.

    NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 11: Pairs of free solar eclipse glasses sit on display at a Warby Parker store  on August 11, 2017 in New York City. To view the upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21 eye protection is essential. The designer eyeglass store expects to give out thousands of pairs of the glasses before the event.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
  2. Republicans face primary in whirlwind special election for Plant City-area House seat


    PLANT CITY — With qualifying completed this week, the field is set in a whirlwind special election to replace state Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City — and the race could come down to two candidates in a Republican primary, Yvonne Fry and Lawrence McClure.

    Yvonne Fry is one of two Republican candidates with strong Plant City ties to quality for a special election in state House District 58.
  3. Tim Tebow came into their life, and never left


    There are a lot of stories about Tim Tebow connecting with people during his life, Tebow inspiring them and Tebow being inspired.

    Boomer Hornbeck of Naples, Fla., has battled cerebral palsy and undergone surgery after surgery in the hopes of allowing him to one day walk. Inspired by Tim Tebow, and encouraged by his relationship with him, Hornbeck has become a motivational speaker.
  4. Wrestler Ric Flair in critical condition with 'multiple organ problems,' family says


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Ric Flair's fiancee shared more details of his illness in a Facebook post, and his condition is more serious than fans imagined for the hospitalized wrestling icon.

    Ric Flair photographed in 2009. [Getty]
  5. Gracepoint gifts senior residents with new home

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — When Mary Myles became program manager of The Graham Home 25 years ago, 30 adults with special needs occupied 65 square-foot apartments.

    The Graham at Gracepoint, the senior living apartments at 2400 East Henry Ave., was their first facility built from the ground up.