Heart of Putnam Food Pantry big winner in SJR food drive
St. Johns River State College in Palatka donated more than 2,000 pounds of food Friday as part of Vikings Day of Service to the Heart of Putnam Food Pantry.
A little healthy competition brought together all the college’s departments and all three campuses, Orange Park, St. Augustine and Palatka, to host a food drive for local nonprofit organizations.
“COVID kind of threw a wrench in some of (the projects) as well, but we were determined to move forward,” said Susan Kessler, the Palatka campus’ director of public relations and publications.
Vikings Day of Service began in September 2019 and is hosted twice a year – once in the beginning of the year and again in the fall – as a way to partner with the community and give back, Kessler said.
With six teams competing this month, the Information Technology Department won the food drive competition, and Kessler said this is their second time winning.
The Heart of Putnam Food Pantry showed its gratitude on its Facebook page for the 2,561 pounds of nonperishable food it received.
“The food you collected will be appreciated by our clients. The impact we make in our community is due to the generosity of folks like these,” the post said. “Thanks for giving.”
Melissa Perry, dean of adult education at the Palatka campus and designated food drive captain, said the generosity of all the campuses’ departments amazed her.
“(The food drive) just brought a real positive energy,” she said. “It was a great opportunity to come together and do something positive.
The next Vikings Day of Service will fall around Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Perry said being able to participate in a service project during the coronavirus pandemic brought happiness in a time that needs a little more joy.
“It brought positive and competitive energy, something you can think about other than fear and uncertainty and COVID,” Perry said. “I was just overwhelmed by the generosity of the Palatka campus and just really proud to be part of it.”