Several Coral Springs Swim Club swimmers got a life lesson in helping the less fortunate on Friday at the Broward Outreach Center in Pompano Beach.
Booster Club president Danica Schimansky and swimmers Megan Schimansky, Carly Brewington, Alexio Musleh, Lydia Musleh, Brian Arnaud, Maya Ginzburg and Diego Sanguinetti dropped off food collected during the club's October Food Drive.
They also spent time making sandwiches, serving food and meeting men, women and children residents the center feeds three times a day.
The swimmers unloaded the food into a shopping cart and packed the center's food closet with everything from cereal and beans to rice and soup.
The center is currently feeding 120 men, 50 women, 25 children and 10 familiies. In 2013, the center served 800,000 meals.
"It was an amazing experience for these swimmers," said Danica Schimansky. "It was really, really good for our kids to do this. It was an eye-opener for them."
The swimmers not only loaded the food closet but also put aprons, caps and gloves on and made and served food during lunch time.
The swimmers told Schimansky, "we need to do more, we need to come here more."
Schimansky and swimmers were given a tour of the center where they help homeless people get back on their feet. The center has people stay anywhere from 30 to 60 days, up to six months.
The center sets up class programs for residents that include reading skills, GED preparation, helping with resumes and interview skills. They also work in the center's laundry and kitchen.
The center's goal is to try and get them jobs. Several have been hired as Publix warehouse workers and beverage company workers.
Publix and Danny's Meat Market in Coral Springs are the center's biggest contributors of food.
"It's important to fill their pantry, they serve so many meals, it's what they need the most," Schimansky said.
The swimmers were already asking when they could go back.
"Our kids were touched," Schimansky said. "At the end they were all talking and one swimmer said it just makes us appreciate what we have and what we don't have. It was an incredible experience for them. There were some that didn't know these centers existed.
"They were deeply affected by what they saw today," Schimansky said. "It was awesome they got the chance to actually see where the donations were going. The people at the center were so nice and so appreciative. People who don't have anything appreciate everything."
Asma Rashid, volunteer coordinator of the Broward Outreach Center, thanked Coral Springs Swim Club for its contributions.
Rashid wrote in an e-mail: "Thank you for helping the homeless and disenfranchised through Broward Outreach Center-Pompano. I would like to convey heartfelt thanks from the residents of Broward Outreach Center, Pompano for your food donation and volunteering on campus. Donors like you make it possible for us to feed hundreds of hungry men, women and children on daily basis rendered homeless by different life's situations. Thank you for bringing hope to many. You are a LIFE CHANGER. Looking forward to a continued relationship."