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Tampa elementary school principal collects food to give back to students in need

Posted at 4:09 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 16:47:57-04

Shantrell Mayo is used to walking her daughter to Foster Elementary School, but on Monday they walked there to pick up groceries.

“In this time being laid off it’s hard, the bills are still coming, you still have to feed the little ones and now they are home full time,” said Mayo.

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Principal Francine Lazarus decided to make it her own personal mission to help feed her students and their families.

For the past two weeks, she has been collecting, sorting and distributing food. So far, she has received more than 500 pounds in donations, much of it from friends and neighbors.

“If they aren’t working they aren’t getting paid and so this really creates a big issue for families who are having to make those decisions, ‘should I pay rent or should I buy groceries’ and we really don’t want them to be in that dilemma,” said Lazarus.

Every can of beans, every box of cereal, goes right back to the students and families of Foster Elementary. Parents don’t need to leave the neighborhood.

“We knew a barrier for our families would be transportation,” said Lazarus.

“It’s a lot easier because push come to shove I can walk up here so that helps,” said parent Shanay Campbell.

Campbell said it’s nice seeing a friendly face, someone who knows her son, and understands their hardship.

“I think its the most sincere gesture you can give these days, the fact that she cares about her parents and her children it says a lot that we all float and stay together through this whole phase,” said Campbell.

Lazarus said she wants her 450 students to know their school is there for them, not just for math and science, but any challenge life may bring.

“The connections we make with families and students outside the classroom will have a positive impact inside the classroom,” said Lazarus.

Anyone interested in donating can reach out to Foster Elementary School directly.