Daytona State Food and Wine festival raises funds for homelessness initiative

Nearly 400 people attended an inaugural Food and Wine Festival at Daytona State College on March 31.

The crowd was served tapas-style food served by area restaurants as well as students attending the college’s Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management.

Proceeds support Daytona State’s initiative to curb hunger and homelessness among its students.

The festival, presented by the Daytona State College Foundation, was the first event at the L. Gale Lemerand Student Center, which opened in March.

Support, resources

The center serves as a place where students can seek academic support and resources, such as the library and career advising, and enjoy various amenities such as the college’s dining hall, offices for student clubs and a gaming center.

“This is a place where students can socialize and interact with their peers, faculty and college staff, and access the resources and guidance they need to stay on track,” said Daytona State President Tom LoBasso.

“We know that students who are engaged in college life are more likely to achieve academic success and complete their degrees, and that has been the whole strategy behind the design and construction of this building from the very start.”

LoBasso also spoke of the mission behind the event.

“We also know that hunger and homelessness have increasingly become barriers to student success at colleges and universities across the nation. This evening, we come together to support and advocate on behalf of the estimated 69 percent of Daytona State students who live at or below the state poverty level, many who wrestle with food insecurity or lack a bed they can call their own,’’ he said.

Free food, fees

Daytona State has established a Falcon Fuel Grab & Go Food Pantry operated by its Center for Women and Men, where students can pick up a free, quick snack or even a meal to prepare at home.

Students have access to a clothes closet they can use to prepare for job interviews; a book lending library; supplies, free printing and test fees; free emergency Votran bus transportation and free or low-cost health care and more through a collaboration with Hope Place and Halifax Urban Ministries.

“We are trying to address every issue that our students might have and remove obstacles to their education,” LoBasso added. “Together, we are making a difference in the lives of so many of our students.”

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