INDIAN SHORES — On May 23, Officers Alexandra Holt and Kevyn Andrews drove two Indian Shores police cruisers stuffed with 526 boxes of breakfast foods from the Indian Shores Municipal Center to St. Jerome’s Lifeline Food Pantry in Largo.
Holt led the charge over the last six weeks to collect “Cereal for Summer” donations as a community help project sponsored by the Indian Shores Police Department.
St. Jerome’s Lifeline Food Pantry at 10895 Hamlin Blvd. in Largo is affiliated with FeedingTampaBay.org, part of the national Feeding America Network. Fred Bach was Holt’s contact at St. Jerome’s, which is a distribution location for “Cereal for Summer,” a breakfast food drive to help children facing hunger over the summer when free or reduced meals are not available through their schools.
According to FeedingTampaBay.org, one in five children in the U.S. is food insecure. That number is even higher in Pinellas County, at one in four children. Rising prices in the aftermath of the pandemic are compounding this situation.
Before Holt came to work with ISPD in September 2021, she worked in law enforcement in Texas, where she regularly participated in food bank collection drives sponsored by the local police department. Holt proposed doing the same thing here to Chief Rick Swann, who wholeheartedly supported it.
The 526 boxes of breakfast foods included cereal, oatmeal, shelf-stable milk, cereal bars, applesauce, and apple juice. Originally, Holt had hoped to collect enough breakfast foods to fill one police cruiser, but was delighted when the citizens of Indian Shores and Redington Shores came through with twice as many donations as she had anticipated — enough donations to completely fill two cruisers.
“That’s a lot of donations for just two small communities, especially ones with a primarily older population where there aren’t many families with school age-children,” said Holt.
Not only police staff were responsible for the success of the drive. Both towns’ elected officials and staff participated, as well as residents and snowbirds. “Everyone from the Walking Club all the way to the mayors chipped in,” said Holt.
To say that Holt was pleased with the outcome of the “Cereal of Summer” drive is an understatement. She said she wishes she could send a “huge thank you” to both towns. “I wish I could send a thank you card to everyone who contributed.”
As an interesting aside, Holt was recently accepted to Fort Hays State University, where she will be pursuing a master’s degree in professional studies in criminal justice. She will begin taking classes next month and is scheduled to complete her coursework in August 2022 with the full support of the ISPD and the two towns she protects and serves.