Lake County anonymous donation helps with 40,000 pounds of food for struggling college students

LEESBURG, Fla. – College students at Lake Sumter State College were surprised to learn of the first food drive that would provide them with more than 40,000 pounds of food, an event made possible with an anonymous donation of $20,000.

“None of us planned this back in January and our community which has always been very generous with our students stepped up in a different way,” Stan Sidor, president of LSSC, said.

Boxes of fresh produce, canned soups, tuna, peanut butter and jelly, and different types of snacks were all distributed from the parking lot of Lake Sumter State College in Leesburg.

"The majority of the students at Lake Sumter state college are working adults. They're managing two to three jobs. They have child care obligations, parent obligations," Sidor said.

COVID-19 has made their situations more difficult. The college says they realized students were missing out on one of the most important basic needs. Food.

"The students were not actually receiving food. Most of them aren't getting food stamps because they don't qualify," Irene O'Malley, executive director of Lake Cares Food pantry said. The non-profit teamed up with Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to provide the goods for the college.

“Something like this is always really helpful for people that can’t afford it. It shows that there’s some real generosity going out there,” Stefan Endres, a LSSC student said.

A generosity that brings out the spirit of the community.

“We know that food, that’s your basic need you know, they want to continue their education,” Laura Byrd, Vice President Of Institutional Advancement for the LSSC Foundation said. “We wanna see them be successful but we have to help with those basic needs in order to make that happen.”

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