U.S. Congresswoman Donna Shalala took time from her busy schedule to join the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis (BiscayneBayKiwanis.org), one of South Florida’s most active community service organizations, and members of the City of Miami Police Department to distribute much-needed school supplies to more than 100 inner-city families.
Students from three Biscayne Bay Kiwanis partner schools — Phillis Wheatley, Eneida M. Hartner and Frederick Douglass elementaries —lined up for the giveaway.
“The kids have been studying at home and they need supplies,” said Shalala, former president of the University of Miami and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. “We want to make sure they get everything they need to continue learning. I’m happy to be here with the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis and our police officers who are helping in the distribution.”
The students received a package — valued at $55 each — with a wide variety of school supplies including paper, pencils, markers, crayons, erasers, scissors, glue, a composition book and even a set of earphones.
“Everything the kids need for the virtual learning experience is in the package,” said Biscayne Bay Kiwanis president Kellie Gayoso. “Normally at this time of year we would be handing out backpacks with school uniforms, but it was more important to get these school supplies in the hands of the students. When in-school learning begins again — hopefully by the end of the year — we’ll gladly supply the school uniforms.”
The Biscayne Bay Kiwanis’ very successful programs — which they hope to continue once in-school attendance resumes — include: a reading program to help second graders prepare for their end-of-year exams; providing lessons in etiquette, civics, and life skills; guided tours of the Everglades for children in shelters, public housing, and foster care; feeding the homeless and distributing Thanksgiving meals to families; chaperoning field trips to local attractions, museums and sporting events; volunteering with and providing holiday gifts and field trips to disabled adults; giving school uniforms, supplies and backpacks to children in need and awarding of college scholarships to high school seniors.
Over the past nine years, the BBKC has awarded more than $290,000 in scholarships throughout Miami-Dade County.
For more information about the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis or to join in one of their community-service projects, text or call the club at 305-814-2225.