Students ditch spring break to solve food insecurity in Immokalee

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While most students spend their spring break on the beach, others are using that time to solve food insecurity problems.

Florida Gulf Coast University professor Thomas Felke is working with his students to document where Immokalee residents have access to fresh and healthy food.

“So far from the field research we’ve done, there’s not a lot of availability of fresh fruits and vegetables,” Felke said. “Whether you’re talking about a student in school or a senior, if they’re not getting the proper nutrition, they’re not going to function to their best potential.”

University of Michigan student Meng Yng Zhang is also spending her vacation days with FGCU students to help Immokalee residents gain access to healthier choices.

“What really surprised me was how little access people have to fresh fruits or vegetables in this community,” Zhang said. “They have a really hard time even getting a box of salad.”

Immokalee resident William Trevino knows the hardship of finding fresh produce all too well. Now, he helps others get nutritional meals through the Amigos CenterΒ in Immokalee.

The Amigos Center offers a food pantry from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays.

All of the students will present their research findings to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Friday.

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