Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Master Deputy Jaime Heaverin, who works at Rodgers Middle School in Riverview, established the school’s first on-campus food pantry for students experiencing food insecurities in 2016. With Heaverin’s efforts, it created a way for students to regain their momentum and become more academically successful through the fulfillment of receiving food.
Rodgers Middle School Principal Greg Basham shared how he felt about a food pantry being available for the students.
“We are here for our students and it provides a tremendous service for anyone needing essential items or need food,” Basham said. “In addition, Heaverin has a servant’s heart and she cares about our young people.”
It all came into fruition through Heaverin learning about a student’s family being hungry as well as those who were affected by a hurricane that hit Puerto Rico and individuals relocated to Hillsborough County. At that time, it went from nine to 126 families who needed assistance. Heaverin sought out avenues on how to help them through contacting others.
With that in mind, the community also contributed to the food pantry through donations of nonperishable items such as canned and dry goods, just to name a few. Toiletries can also be found there. Students who seek to access the food pantry can reach out to Heaverin or members of the school staff.
Heaverin mentioned how students benefit from the food pantry.
“The grades of students have improved and they are participating more,” Heaverin said.
There are several ways that people can donate to the food pantry. For one, a check stating it is for the Kids in Need Fund can be mailed to the school. Secondly, individuals can go to Rodgers Pantry on the Amazon wish list, search for items to be donated and have it shipped directly to school, with Heaverin being the recipient of it. Lastly, nonperishables or toiletries can be dropped off during school hours.
Sheriff Chad Chronister of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office expressed how the implementation of the food pantry at Rodgers Middle School has helped students thus far.
“Master Deputy Heaverin saw a need and found a solution that has helped dozens of children and their families,” Chronister said.
“As COVID-19 continues to impact our community, having a stocked food pantry is now more important than ever before,” he added.
Heaverin is thankful for the support from the community and wants people to know that they are here to help make sure that the students and families get taken care of.
For more information, visit http://rodgers.mysdhc.org. It is located at 11910 Tucker Rd. in Riverview. Call 671-5288.