Athletes, band members and dance team members at Evans now have access to free afternoon snacks thanks to the efforts of Fern Lefkowitz, a member of the local philanthropic group 100 Women Strong.
Lefkowitz has been spearheading the placement of “Snax Centers” at Evans to provide healthy snacks for students participating in after-school programs. Each center consists of a large locked cabinet filled with packages of nuts, meat sticks, cheese crackers and other fuel for active teens. Coaches and activity sponsors open and distribute the snacks in the afternoon. Currently, five cabinets are up and running.
Previously, Lefkowitz helped set up a food pantry at Evans to provide students with weekend food. When she learned last fall that many students were going hungry at afternoon practices – and in some cases fainting as a result – she went to work creating the “Snax Centers.”
For Lefkowitz, this meant assessing the needs, calculating the costs, finding the best prices and raising the funds to operate the centers. “I figured we would need five cabinets, each costing $5,000 to fill with 3,000 snacks a month, or 27,000 snacks over nine months,” she explained. “Then I went about going to tell the story in the community.”
In a matter of months, Lefkowitz raised enough funds from generous community donors to fill the cabinets for an entire school year. To ensure every dime of it goes toward food, she purchased three of the cabinets herself and secured two others from Orange County Public Schools surplus.
“Fern knows from personal experience what it’s like to be a hungry student,” shared Susan Arkin, who is a fellow member of 100 Women Strong.
Arkin thinks this experience and Lefkowitz’s belief that it our job to heal the world underlies her passion to help. “And Fern really has a gift of communicating her passion and getting other people to share it,” she said.
Note: 100 Women Strong, based in the Community Foundation of Central Florida, is focusing its current support on Evans Community School, particularly on food security and nutrition at Evans. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/WTpNsS. To help sponsor a “Snax Center,” contact Fern Lefkowitz at 407-425-1974.