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. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger


    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  2. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season


    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  3. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium


    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32 (left), was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with boss Larry McCabe when he saw three men …

  4. Blake Snell struggles in return as Rays fall to Pirates

    The Heater


    Blake Snell talked a good game ahead of his return to the Rays rotation Wednesday night, but he didn't pitch one.

    The Pirates’ David Freese scores on a Blake Snell wild pitch during the first inning against the Rays.
  5. College World Series title puts Florida Gators in elite company


    The Florida Gators put themselves in rare company with Tuesday night's College World Series national championship victory.

    Florida ace and Tampa native Alex Faedo (21) lets loose with his teammates after they win the Gators’ first baseball national title.