Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Powell program yields enough food to fill a Hummer

Eighth-grader Emalee Harris, 13, loads food into the Humvee. Emalee’s house, the Purple Dragons, collected the most food 
at Powell Middle School.


Eighth-grader Emalee Harris, 13, loads food into the Humvee. Emalee’s house, the Purple Dragons, collected the most food at Powell Middle School.

BROOKSVILLE — The big, black Hernando County Sheriff's Office Humvee was parked behind Powell Middle School, empty when it arrived and chock-full of food when it left.

The school collected items for the "Stuff the Humvee" program. Powell's four houses: Purple Dragons, Blue Bombers, Yellow Stingers and Green Goblins competed to see which team could collect the most.

The Purple Dragons won and were rewarded with the chance to stuff the Humvee and a pizza party with some of the sheriff's SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team.

"We're doing the holiday food drive for the needy families in Hernando County," said Deputy Eric Dunn, 37, a former Powell student.

An invitation went out to the middle and high schools. Deputies picked up food from the other schools. Schools that had internal competitions, Powell and Fox Chapel middle schools and J.D. Floyd K-8, had the opportunity to stuff the Humvee.

The drive was organized at the school level by school resource officer Deputy Sonya O'Banner. At the Humvee loading, she was joined by Deputies Dunn (SWAT), Rose Denjesus, Scott Reak (SWAT), Abraham Dowdell (SWAT), Steve Sikalos, Steve Snell, Dustin Atkins and Matthew Spooner.

Fox Chapel SRO, Deputy Wendy McGinnis, spearheaded Stuff the Humvee. "She's the one who started the program last year," said Dunn. "I can see it getting bigger and bigger."

The children seemed very aware of the situations of some families and individuals. "There's a lot of homeless people around here," said seventh-grader Brittany Castellano, 12. "When I'm driving in my car I see them. It just makes me feel really bad. It makes my heart want to break."

Fellow Purple Dragon, sixth-grader Eric Riggins, 11, agreed. "There's a lot of people without food," he said. He has seen people pick up discarded bottles to try to get a drink of what might be left in them, he said. "It just makes me feel sad. This helps a whole lot."

Eighth-grader Taishia McRay, 13, is proud of what they had done.

"It makes me feel like I'm helping people and it comes from the heart," she said. "And I'm being a great American citizen."

Powell program yields enough food to fill a Hummer 11/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 1:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Accountability plan, post-Irma, turnarounds and more


    ACCOUNTABILITY: The Florida Department of Education submits a revised Every Student Succeeds Act plan without the waiver requests it had originally proposed. Experts and advocates …

    High Point Elementary teacher Kristen Bierman works with English language learners on their reading skills. The state wants to test all students in English, saying it's Florida law.
  2. Rays morning after: Zim's legacy felt on bunt play



  3. Work, threats continue as Hernando recovers from Irma

    Local Government


    Hurricane Irma's fierce winds are becoming a memory, but the water the storm left behind has become a real threat on Hernando's east side.

    This aerial drone view shows flooding on the Withlacoochee River in the Talisman Estates area of east Hernando, south of Ridge Manor. The river is about 6 feet above flood stage, and its floodwaters are not expected to recede for days.
  4. A boy and a girl stare at the camera from their house after Hurrciane Maria hit the eastern region of the island, in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, September 20, 2017. The strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years destroyed hundreds of homes, knocked out power across the entire island and turned some streets into raging rivers in an onslaught that could plunge the U.S. territory deeper into financial crisis. [Associated Prss]
  5. Forecast: Dry air, hot temperatures remain in control across Tampa Bay


    Dry but hot weather will continue Thursday across Tampa Bay with only a 20 percent chance of showers forecast for the afternoon.

    7 day forecast. [WTSP]