As the holiday season nears, the giving and cheerful spirit is already in the air as senior Florida A&M University student Christina Stapleton puts her community project, “Feeding the Community,” in motion.
Stapleton started the project in April. She said she’s always wanted to start it since she was a kid.
“Food is one of my favorite things in the world,” Stapleton said. “It always made me sad seeing people not being able to eat, so I knew I wanted to make a difference, but never had the funds growing up to do it myself. Now that I have a steady income, It made it easier to stop the project.”
According to a report from the Tallahassee City Commission, the city’s homeless population had doubled by January 2021, which means more people are out on the street without food or a place to go.
Stapleton has put the project together herself but has had a great support system from her friend Raven Riggins, who has encouraged and pushed her from the start.
“She’s spent a lot of time helping me reach out to many organizations as well as helping me fund some of my projects out of pocket,” Stapleton said. “She has the same level of interest in this as me, which is something anyone who is starting something needs.”
Riggins volunteers for the community project and has been to every event and has seen the progress from the beginning.
“What inspires me to volunteer is that I am able to support her initiative, especially knowing this is something she has always wanted to so,” Riggins said. “The events are starting to grow tremendously with support from different organizations on campus and from members in the community.”
Stapleton has received donations and volunteers from FMAU students, organizations on campus, and Sams Club donated items for their next event.
“I’m excited that so many people want to be a part of this project,” Stapleton said. “With Tallahassee being a college town, there’s a lot of students, and we should be able to give back to the community that we’re all living in.”
Stapleton hopes to continue giving back to the community and set long and short-term goals for her project.
“For my short-term goals, I want to have an event once a month and grow interest among students in Tallahassee to feed our community,” said Stapleton. “For long term, I wish to continue doing monthly donations and hope to have someone continue to feed the community once I leave Tallahassee.”
In order to make a donation or volunteer, follow the feeding the community page on Instagram @feeding.thecommunity.