Camelot Academy of Escambia Students and Staff Help Feed the Hungry
Achieving benchmarks is a success that can be celebrated by everyone who plays a role. Outperforming expectations is a goal only accomplished through determination and dedication. Camelot Academy of Escambia recently claimed both in its efforts to help feed local families most in need.
Camelot Academy of Escambia held a “Feeding the Community” volunteer event that handed out meals to 500 families who live around the school in the Englewood Heights neighborhood of Pensacola, FL.
Families drove through a distribution line and had food boxes placed into their trunks one by one. Boxes consisted of dairy products, fruits, vegetables, bread, and even a few desserts. The result was five times greater than Executive Director Christopher Wooten hoped back in the winter when he first envisioned a food drive that would serve 100 families locally.
“The event was absolutely outstanding,” Wooten said. “We exceeded our goal by five times and gave out 20,000 pounds of food thanks to incredible community partnerships with Jubilee Church, Thoroughly Immersed, and my fraternity, Omega Psi Phi.”
Wooten’s vision, ability to form partnerships, and inspiring leadership of staff, helped make the event such a success.
“This event would not have happened without Mr. Wooten,” said Julia Graff Venturi, Director of Student Services. “Under his leadership, we can expect to organize successful events like this regularly in order to serve our neighbors.”
Students and staff were inspired to help make the event a success. Students worked hard to package the food boxes and to create signs to promote the event. Staff dedicated extra time on Friday night before the distribution and again the following Saturday morning to ensure the food distribution process operated smoothly and remained compliant with public health guidelines.
An organization called Feeding the Gulf Coast gathered the 20,000 pounds of food, which was paid for through a grant earned by Wooten’s nonprofit, Thoroughly Immersed Inc.
This event came after a year full of accomplishments for Camelot Academy of Escambia. Since this was the first year in a new building, Wooten has made community engagement an important priority.
“I felt it was crucial to show our neighbors that we are part of the community,” Wooten said of the first days and weeks in the new building. “We took the time to meet our neighbors through canvassing, conversations and shaking hands. We want people to know that we are more than just a school. We are here to serve.”
And serve the community is just what the school has done under Wooten’s leadership. The school inspires its students to help others. Camelot Academy of Escambia a Specialized Education Services, Inc. (SESI) school, is a transitional social and emotional learning program for students to temporarily learn before returning to their original school with improved behavior, attendance and academic performance. The school takes a whole-child approach incorporating healthy living, behavioral learning methods and other life skills training for students to expand their horizons in multiple ways.
“Students here gain the value of community service,” said Wooten. “We are always looking to do activities and events that give back. We teach our kids to embody the spirit of community and giving rather than taking. Our students have done activities such as preparing dinner for people staying at the Ronald McDonald House to preparing brown sack lunches to feed the homeless.”
As for Feeding the Community events, Wooten expects more to come. An event for this summer is already in its planning stages.
SESI is a premier provider of education services for K-12 students who face challenges that prevent them from being successful in a traditional classroom. SESI partners with school districts to run in-district classrooms and stand-alone schools that meet the academic, behavioral, social, and emotional needs of special and alternative education students.