The Florida A&M University (FAMU) campus hosted a giveaway providing school supplies, free face masks, and food to hundreds of Big Bend families on Saturday.
Around 11 a.m., the line of cars stretched from the School of Business and Industry (SBI) parking lot at Gamble Street and Wahnish Way, past the Al Lawson Center on Wahnish Way and across Orange Avenue.
The event was organized by the Power of Life Foundation, a non-profit established to help Alabama, Florida and Georgia families in need. The Foundation is co-founded by Lane Harper, executive director, and Teresa Berger, the associate/marketing director for the Foundation. Berger is an academic adviser for pre-engineering students in the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. Harper is a 15-year veteran in the Birmingham Police Department.
“The event was very successful,” said Berger. “The Foundation brought over 1,100 backpacks and they were all gone. We also distributed four pallets of water and close to 700 boxes of food. There were only six boxes left.”
The food was provided by Second Harvest. The boxes included meat, produce, dry goods and a kid’s snack box. As part of COVID-19 protocols, families were required to remain inside their vehicles as they collected their supplies.
“We gave away a lot of items – face masks, hand sanitizers, socks and back-to-school supplies,” Berger said. “I was very glad the trucks were empty going back to Birmingham.”
The event was co-sponsored by Metropolitan Design & Consulting Group, Second Harvest of the Big Bend, and Cumulus Broadcasting. Wal-Mart provided 14 volunteers to staff the event. Florida Blue, the Leon County Health Department, Team Excellence, and the Lorene Matthews Foundation also had volunteers on hand. FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs William E. Hudson, Jr., Ph.D., and Associate Vice President for Alumni Affairs Carmen Cummings were among the FAMU officials who attended the three-hour event.
“The food and school supply distribution went very well,” Robinson said. “I must commend the sponsors for their generosity and recognize the amazing FAMU team who organized, hosted and volunteered for the event. It was a job well done. The public response reflected the magnitude of the needs in our community.”
Berger said Saturday’s event was the second back-to-school give-away hosted by the Foundation. An earlier event was held in Macon, Georgia. Their next back-to-school event is scheduled for Sunday, August 1 in Birmingham, Alabama.