Unstoppable Stories: Meet Zeina
Our Unstoppable Stories celebrate the spirit of moving forward, finding positives even in the negatives, and never tiring of experiencing interesting things. We’ve found that when you’re comfortable, you can focus on what matters. When you feel good, you always put your best foot forward because:
When you’re comfortable, you’re unstoppable.
Meet Zeina Zein-Wolland, mother, social activist and founder of the Mobile School Pantry. Learn more about her story, her passion for giving back, and what makes her unstoppable.
Driven by a strong personal desire to help at-risk families in Florida in need of food, mother and entrepreneur, Zeina Zein-Wolland founded the Mobile School Pantry. “Food is as essential as any school supply, in order for a child to thrive in the classroom.” This belief motivated Zeina to help divert thousands of dollars’ worth of produce from food banks, stores and manufacturers that often goes to waste, and deliver it to schools each month in her tricked-out school bus. “Somedays I cannot believe I am that woman – living the dream, accomplishing my mission and fulfilling my desire to help families with their nutritional needs for good health, family stability, and a child’s success in school.” Continue reading to hear Zeina, in her own words!
Can you introduce yourself and Mobile School Pantry?
My name is Zeina Zein-Wolland and I’m the founder of the Mobile School Pantry. Mobile School Pantry’s mission is to provide healthy food items to students and families at low income schools in Broward, Florida. Families and students should have the right nutrition needed for a good health. We bring the most essential item needed in life so families and students can thrive, so students can focus in school and so they can achieve great things in their lives. Nobody should be going to bed hungry. 1 in 5 kids in South Florida go to bed hungry where they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Mobile School Pantry is dealing with the most basic human need, food, so families can focus on their life changes and succeed. We set up a farmer’s market once a month in schools and families come shop at no cost. At our last distribution, we had 31 different fruits and vegetables. We started in 2013 with 13 families and we now have over 809 families we provide food items to monthly. We’re also about to add two more schools this month, which we are very excited about. We believe a world without hunger is a better world for everybody. Our motto is “Just Say No to Hunger – Say it Here, Say it Everywhere” so let’s make sure everyone is our community has equal rights and all the means needed for a good life.
What inspires you?
When I look around me at our community and I see children in school, I feel like they should have the right to be able to eat food. I think I am inspired everyday by those who are working hard to provide food for their families. I feel like each of us have a part and a hand in helping those next to us. I always say that if we were going through tough times, we would want someone to reach out for a helping hand. That is exactly what Mobile School Pantry is doing. We don’t say we are giving a hand out, but we are giving a hand up so people can get through those tough times in their life. We just want to make sure that our families have the right tools to succeed and our kids have the opportunity to be whatever they want to be. We are so excited about our new school bus that just got donated through AFT and AFSCME. We are building it out and going to be a mobile market on the road. We are going to be hitting schools one at a time and we won’t stop until every school has a mobile school pantry.
Do you believe every school should have a school pantry?
Yes, I truly believe every school and every country across this nation should have a school pantry. With the abundance of food in our country, there should not be anybody going to bed hungry. 40% of food items should not be going in the garbage. So, together we can do big things. We have big voices and we need to use them as a community. I have seen the beautiful things that have been happening as I’m heading into my 5th year with Mobile School Pantry. I’ve seen how impactful a community can be together and how we can really change the world. We can make sure that all of us are living to the best of our abilities with our communities.