Upon walking into grocery stores recently, there’s an unnerving sense of dread and anxiety that fills the atmosphere. Nearly everyone wears a face mask, and it seems as if no one dares make eye contact or get too close to each other out of the justified fear of compromising their immune systems.
What seems to heighten this end-of-the-world feeling are the several shelves stocked with an abundance of emptiness. No eggs, no milk, no bread, no rice, an unprecedented shortage many of us are experiencing for the first time. Food shortage and anxiety are our new normal. However, for a portion of the population, a lack of food is nothing new.
Fortunately, seven students pursuing their degrees in social work at Texas Woman’s University have successfully contributed to providing aid for Denton residents in need by holding an online money fundraiser for Denton County Food Center (DCFC).
Senior social work majors Deborah Abimbola and Getsebereket Aredo – along with five of their classmates, Amy Morgan, Camillia Mc Cary, Elizabeth Garza, Melissa Gregory, and Regina Juarez – planned and held a drive this spring that raised over $400, contributing to DCFC by providing necessary food items for those in need.
Originally, the students planned to organize a canned food drive on campus, but several obstacles prohibited the drive from taking place, including the move to online learning due to social distancing.
“We wanted to do canned food, but we couldn’t do that because of the whole COVID thing,” Aredo said. “So, we just focused mostly on reaching out to other grocery stores for them to donate food that they had or even money, and we didn’t hear anything back from them, so then we just focused mostly on having a donation drive on Facebook.”
Despite the drawbacks they faced, Aredo, Abimbola and their peers successfully surpassed their fundraising goal, and DCFC was able to stretch the funds even further.
“Originally our goal was to have $200 raised but we were able to raise $430,” Aredo said. “And the food center, they are able to purchase six to seven times more than what we can usually purchase. So, every $10, they are able to purchase $60 to $70 worth of food.
“So, with the $430 we raised they were actually able to buy around like $2000-3000 worth of food, which is truly amazing.”
Aredo said their success was a group effort and that they hope their goal of raising awareness for food insecurity will continue to be met.
“When we were doing our research, we found that there was about 14.3% of Denton County who were currently facing food insecurity so we just wanted to find a way where we could help at least some portion of that through agency,” Aredo said. “ We also wanted to let people know that the food center is still open, but they have limited hours. We urge people to either donate what they can or take advantage of the system, if they need it.”
The social work students involved in this fundraiser, even with COVID-19 anxieties and the abrupt transition to online school, were able to positively impact the Denton community.
“We are happy that we were able to achieve our purpose at least for the money campaign to give to DCFC,” Abimbola said. “That is our joy, that we were able to do something, that we were able to help. We feel good about it.”
For more information about the services provided by DCFC and modified service hours, visit their website here.
Joanna Simmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image courtesy of Serve Denton.