University of Florida Homepage

Alumna Works to Feed Southwest Florida During the Pandemic

by Andrew Doerfler

In more ordinary times, MARCELA ROMERO (Economics ’13) would be spending her days delivering fresh food and nutritional education to elementary schools in the Fort Myers area, informing students and their families about healthy eating habits.

But with schools closed, Brighter Bites, the nonprofit for which Romero serves as Southwest Florida program director, has been unable to provide its usual program to promote nutrition and combat obesity.

In response, Romero has shifted her energy to volunteering with the local Harry Chapin Food Bank to distribute much-needed foods to those who need it most. Since March, she and Brighter Bites have taken part in food distributions to feed more than 2500 families, with that number continuing to grow.

“We are making sure that every family that is going through a season of food insecurity gets nourishing foods that include produce, bread, meats, and canned goods,” Romero said.

In the face of difficulties caused by the pandemic, Romero felt it was important to contribute in any way she could.

“A lot of people are going hungry right now,” she said. “We want to make sure everyone is fed.”

To learn more about Brighter Bites or to donate to their efforts, click here.

Share Your Story

Romero’s efforts are just one example of the ways Gators across the nation and world are doing their part to assist during the current crisis. Let us know how you or a Gator you know have made a difference by emailing