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Students can give food and supplies to local pantries, charities

Connie Dickson, lead driver for Dolphin Transportation, picks up donations for “Pay if Forward FGCU.” (EN Photo / Jimena Tavel)
Connie Dickson, lead driver for Dolphin Transportation, picks up donations for “Pay if Forward FGCU.” (EN Photo / Jimena Tavel)

It’s that time of the year again. There are way too many boxes on the floor, and somehow there is still a lot of unwanted stuff left in the cupboards and drawers. Simultaneously, a desperate need to get rid of everything that’s in the refrigerator kicks in.

Yes, we all know what this means: the time to move out has arrived.

There are many places where students can drop off anything they feel they won’t need anymore, and many people who will take anything students are willing to give them.

The options for where to donate food, cleaning supplies, clothes and personal items are plenty. Harry Chapin Food Bank and many Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida locations are some of the options. Interfaith Charities of South Lee is another.

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According to the ICSL official website, the organization’s mission is to feed the hungry, guide the young and aid the needy.

Brenda Adams, volunteer coordinator for the organization, encourages people to donate cleaning supplies, personal items and any food normally found in a pantry. The organization is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

“It’s better than throwing it away; other people can use it,” Adams said. “Instead of throwing away food, it could go to feeding others in need.”

The FGCU Campus Food Pantry, located in the Music Modular, Lot 7, room 102, is another option where students can donate food. The hours of operation are 3  to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

FGCU Food Pantry drop off, located in the modules behind the music building. (EN Photo / Paul McDade)
FGCU Campus Food Pantry drop off is located in the Music Modular, Lot 7, room 102. (EN Photo / Paul McDade)

Dropsites for non-perishable food donations are located at the following sites as well: Ben Hill Griffin room 146, Cohen Center room 288, Edwards Hall room 214, McTarnaghan Hall room 223, Merwin Hall room 296B, Reed Hall room 220 and in the WGCU lobby.

If a student is found with no time or transportation to personally drop off the donations, there is another way to do it. An appointment with Connie Dickson can be arranged.

Dickson, the lead driver for Dolphin Transportation, started a “Pay it Forward FGCU” group on Facebook this year.

Dickson takes anything that can be reused or repurposed. She then gives it to anybody who is in need, including fellow student Eagles here and sometimes to organizations off campus such as Project Outreach and to the women’s shelter.

“I’ve been doing it for six years now,” Dickson said. “I just don’t want anybody to throw stuff in the Dumpsters that can be used by someone else. So, I go to them and get it.”

“I pretty much take anything that someone could use, even paper and craft supplies,” Dickson said. “Last year, I took a couple of vacuums and a refrigerator, I cleaned them and brought them back and gave them to people.”

Students can either text her, call her, send her a message through Facebook or find her driving the shuttle.

“I have always been a person to give back,” Dickson said. “If anyone is in need they can contact me and we can figure it out.”

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