Good Samaritans work to help college students at start of fall semester

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit:L WINK News.

Some Southwest Floridians are making it their mission to help some of the most vulnerable teens who are starting college during the coronavirus pandemic.

The “D.R.E.A.M College Trunk Fest” fundraiser is scheduled at Golden Gate Community Center in Collier County Saturday to help college students get ready for the fall semester.

“To be able to help 25 kids going to college when they roll in there to their dorm on their first day, everything that they’re gonna need to be successful is going to be in this trunk,” said Nick Sweat, who is among those gathering items for students in need.

The pandemic has made what is normally a large expense further constraining for many college students either beginning or returning to school.

“That is no secret that college is not the cheapest route,” college student Spencer Chery said.

But Chery is already learning. He’s paying a price for the pandemic.

“Corona took parents out of work, took a lot of kids even out of work that have to provide for themselves,” Chery said.

It’s an economic fallout FGCU professor Thomas Felke, Ph.D, hopes doesn’t turn into college dropouts. Felke is both the chair for the FGCU Department of Social Work and the interim chair of the FGCU Department of Health Science.

“That’s been a real stressor,” Felke said. “I can tell you I know at least four students in my social work program who have all lost their jobs.”

Jobs at restaurants, bars and retail stores have all been knocked out by circumstances due to COVID-19.

Forget tuition or transportation. The dollars students would need for housing and food have disappeared for some.

“I know with coronavirus coming on … that should not stop any college student from going to fight for their dream,” Chery said.

The fundraiser at Golden Gate Community Center begins at 2 p.m. There will be enough supplies there to benefit more than the 25 college students originally planned for.

Items being asked for

  • gift cards
  • books
  • computers
  • tablets
  • pens
  • earbuds
  • toiletries

Note: Item donations are not limited to those mentioned above. 

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