Dungy Family Foundation and Weseeu, Inc. Help Kids in Need

Dungy Family Foundation and Weseeu, Inc. Help Kids in Need

By Sarah Whitman

When I saw this photo, the first thing I noticed was the child’s smile.

I barely recognized the woman in the picture, Lauren Dungy, who wore gloves and a face mask in accordance with current social distancing protocol.

Dungy was, among less than 10 other volunteers, distributing activity packs to children participating in the drive-thru food assistance program at Folsom Elementary in Tampa. 

When Dungy learned Hillsborough County Schools were closing due to COVID-19, she immediately thought of families reliant on the education system for support. 

The Dungy Family Foundation, operated by Lauren and her husband Tony,  works regularly with local schools, donating books and visiting classrooms. 

“Many students don’t have access to learning materials at home, or even food to eat,” Lauren Dungy said. “When schools closed, we sat down and said, “This is devastating. Families are struggling. Now, what we can we do to help?”

Dungy partnered with Tanya Cross, co-founder of the Tampa non-profit organization Weseeu Inc., to supply students in need with activity packs.

Through it’s Back to School and Holiday Angel programs, Weseeu, also founded by Cross’s husband George Kimble and son George Kimble III, helps fill the gap for hardworking low-income families.

Cross wanted to continue assisting those families affected by recent shutdowns. 

With the help of veteran Hillsborough County educator Henry Shake Washington, Cross was able to organize activity pack distribution to take place alongside drive-thru food pick ups at Title one schools, of which there are 135 in the county.  

“Many children depend on their time at school for socialization and even affection,” Cross said. “A hug from their teacher may be the only hug they get. School is where they go to read a book or to color, because they don’t have those things at home.”

Both Dungy and Cross are shopping to fill the packs themselves, mostly at the Dollar Tree. Each elementary-age appropriate pack includes an activity coloring book, crayons and a reading book. Depending on donations received, some also include glue sticks and other art supplies.  

“During this time, it’s important for kids to stay engaged in the learning process,” Dungy said. “We want them to stay interested in reading.” 

Weseeu, Inc. is currently accepting donations online at weseeu.net, so the program can continue.  

“It only takes $4 to complete a pack for a child,” Cross said. “These are our babies from our communities and they need us. We can not do it without support.”

The reaction of the kids makes the effort of going out in protective gear worth it, Cross said. 

“Their faces light up when they see us,” Cross said. “They get so excited.” 

Dungy, who attends Grace Family Church, said her faith keeps her motivated to help the community in any way possible. 

“Even in times of adversity, God is still working in our lives,” Dungy said. “He is still here. He has called us to put aside our challenges and reach out to those who are struggling even more.”

For more information or to donate, visit www.weseeu.net

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