110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
DeLand woman makes effort to feed children over school breaks
Collection boxes in Downtown DeLand
posted Nov 25, 2013 - 12:39:13pm
Sheila Gilmore saw a need to make sure all children get enough to eat while school is out for the holidays.
Some children are forced to go without meals for a day or two because the family doesn’t have the means to obtain food, Gilmore said. These children eat well only when school is in session, because their breakfast and lunch are free at school.
Some of these families may be homeless, living in their cars or the woods, and some may be living with relatives or friends. According to her research, Gilmore said, in 2012, there were 1,900 homeless children in Volusia County.
Gilmore decided to go shopping and buy some things, which she then donated to The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia. That night when she got home, she couldn’t sleep. She said she knew she needed to do more.
In July, Gilmore started a community food drive. She said it wasn’t very organized, but she collected food from various sources and then donated it to The Neighborhood Center in DeLand.
All together, Gilmore said, she delivered “three heaping grocery carts full” of food.
“If we can do that, we can do more,” she decided.
Gilmore has launched another community food drive. This time, it is more organized, with four volunteers helping, specific drop-off locations, and a longer collection period, she said.
Drop-off boxes are at Stetson Flower and Wedding Boutique, DeLand Computers, and The West Volusia Beacon in Downtown DeLand. The drive will continue until the first week of December, and the food will be donated to the Spring Hill Neighborhood Association in DeLand. If there is an overabundance of food, Gilmore will make a donation in time for Thanksgiving.
Gilmore declined to take credit for the effort.
“It takes everybody working together to make a success, not just one person,” she said.
She is not worried about whether people getting food from food banks really need it, because she knows some children go hungry during school holidays.
“If I can reach that one person who really, really has a need, and bring relief to one family, then I have done my job,” Gilmore said.
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