News and Events

Saint Leo University Giving Back to Communities It Serves

Throughout the university's locations, Saint Leo is providing Thanksgiving meals and collecting school and cleaning supplies, personal care items, and food for those in need.

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1 November 2021 - By Mary McCoy
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At Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, we express our gratitude. And one way the Saint Leo University community demonstrates that thankfulness is through helping others. Galatians 6:9-10 states, "Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up."

As a reflection of Saint Leo University's commitment to focusing on the core values that are rooted in the Benedictine tradition, several opportunities are available to "do good" and give back to the communities in which we teach and serve including at the Tampa Education Center, the Savannah Education Center, and at University Campus—the residential campus in Pasco County, FL.

Tampa Food Drive

Saint Leo University's Tampa Education Center is collecting food for Metropolitan Ministries, November 1-18. The mission of Metropolitan Ministries is to care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless "through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency as an expression of the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ," the nonprofit organization's mission states.

The Tampa Education Center is holding this Thanksgiving holiday food drive in connection with The Tampa Writers Harvest, a poetry and fiction reading and performance to be held 1-3 p.m., Saturday, November 20, via Zoom. Donations are requested to attend the event.

Saint Leo's Tampa center is in the former Berriman-Morgan Cigar Factory building at 1403 N. Howard Ave., Tampa, FL 33607. Canned goods and nonperishable food may be dropped off 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Gianna Russo, assistant professor of English and creative writing, is the city of Tampa's first Wordsmith and is organizing the event.

The Tampa Writers Harvest will feature Tampa's favorite poets, writers, and spoken-word artists from across the city including from Saint Leo University, the University of Tampa, Black on Black Rhyme, University of South Florida, Tampa Bay Poetry Alliance, Heard 'Em Say, and the community. Dr. Steve Kistulentz, director of Saint Leo's Master of Arts in creative writing degree program, will present a reading. The performances will take place live on Zoom and will be available for viewing after the event on YouTube. Saint Leo University's Tampa Education Center will provide the venue for recording the performances.

The national Writers Harvest launched in the early 1990s as a fundraiser to support organizations that address food insecurity. Russo organized Tampa's first Writers Harvest in the mid-1990s, and she said she is thrilled to bring the event back and to "contribute to the welfare of our fellow citizens." 

To receive a link to attend this event, participants are asked to drop off canned and nonperishable food items or checks made payable to Metropolitan Ministries at Saint Leo's Tampa Education Center. Donations also may be made online to Metropolitan Ministries via Facebook at

For more information about the event, contact Gianna Russo at (813) 817-6824 or For more information about how to donate food or the Tampa Education Center, contact Rod Kirkwood, center director, at or (813) 743-3228.

Savannah Thanksgiving Meals

Saint Leo University's Savannah Education Center and Savannah Feed the Hungry are partnering again this year to provide some deserving families with a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving is a holiday for spending quality time with family while making lasting memories. As the country and the community continue to suffer economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, many may not be able to afford a family dinner.

To assist those in the community, Saint Leo and Feeding the Hungry will feed 50 families this Thanksgiving. Community members who know of a deserving family, email with the following information about the family:

  • Family name;
  • Contact information; and,
  • Why they are deserving.

Submissions should include Savannah Thanksgiving Meal in the subject line of the email, and all emails must be received by Monday, November 15.

Families will be selected by the Saint Leo University staff and the Savannah Feed the Hungry team. Selected families will be notified on Tuesday, November 16, with pickup instructions.

Saint Leo University's Savannah Education Center has served the community for more than 45 years, and celebrates the university's core value of "community" by giving back to those living and working in the Savannah area. The education center is at 325 W. Montgomery Crossroads, Savannah, GA 31406.

For more information, call (912) 352-8331 or email

School, Cleaning Supply Drive

The Social Justice Committee is holding a fall supply drive to collect school and cleaning supplies and personal care items from Monday, November 1, through Wednesday, December 15. All supplies will be donated to the Migrant Education Program, which provides services to migrant students and their families through Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Migrant families travel extensively throughout the United States to harvest fruits and vegetables. As essential workers, they provide the food to feed the nation despite hardships of their own. Challenges that the MEP helps mitigate are academic, health, social, parent engagement, and family literacy.

Items needed include:

School supplies: backpacks, notebooks, pencils, pens, folders, crayons, and markers;

Cleaning supplies: laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaner, and bleach; and,

Toiletries: soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, and feminine hygiene products.

Faculty, staff, and students are asked to drop off supplies in designated bins across campus. For more information, please contact the Social Justice Committee at