JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville elementary school counselor is not only fighting for his students’ academic success, but he’s also fighting food insecurity.
“I’ve noticed there’s a need here at the school and all the other schools in Jacksonville,” said George Washington Carver Elementary School Counselor Anthony Winters.
Winters started working at the school in September, and his mission is combating hunger in the hallways. The George Washington Food and Supply Drive helps provide more than 50 bags of groceries and supplies to families in need each week.
“I started a food pantry with a couple organizations back here,” Winters explained. “I have a few clothing articles that I can give out to students, as well as in case they have ripped or dirty pants or shirts. I also have a hygiene closet, as well.”
Winters told News4Jax 100% of the school’s students are on free and reduced lunch and nearly all families who attend the school receive some type of additional assistance.
“It spiked because the pandemic,” he said. “It was there before, but we saw that growth.”
Children can select items from the pantry. Then those items are bagged up, placed in their backpacks and sent home.
Winters said he lets the students know that everyone needs a little help here and there. He hopes to eventually expand to reach other students across Northeast Florida.
“We’re kind of creating more of an accepting community here, and that’s what I hope to bring to the rest of Jacksonville,” Winters said.
If you would like to help, you can call George Washington Carver Elementary School at 904-924-3122 or email Winters directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or Principal Charlene James at email@example.com.
Right now, the school is only accepting nonperishable and pantry food items, including canned vegetables, canned fruit, canned soup, other canned goods, pasta sauce, noodles, rice, cereal and Pop-Tarts. It’s also collecting girls’ and boys’ items such as shoes, socks, Polo shirts, pants, belts and undergarments that are new. Personal hygiene items and money are also accepted. For a full list of items, click here.