Andrea Bryant-Smith is a baker, but not a candle sticker maker! Her Pastries By Andrea/Too Nice Slice company organizes weekly food giveaways in the Springfield area. Every weekend Bryant and her volunteer staff rise early to distribute and feed hundreds of homeless people with healthy, organic fruits, vegetables, desserts, breads and hormone free meat. Currently the team borrows the St. John’s Lutheran church facility located on Silver Street to distribute the items. Bryant graduated from Andrew Jackson High school and holds a two year degree in Culinary Arts from Florida State College of Jacksonville. “Various farmers in Springfield and local grocers donate the organic food. We prefer healthy choices to distribute to the community,” said Bryant-Smith.
After six years of distributing food to the homeless, Bryant returned to FSCJ and registered for the Environmental Protection Agency training certificate course. The course is held to educate communities for sustainable futures to protect the environment and prepare for green jobs to reduce environmental contamination. “The course taught me about soil, water and growing fruits and vegetables. I was amazed at the information and vowed to not only feed the homeless organic foods, but to also start feeding and cooking healthier meals for my family,” she said. Bryant-Smith role model was her grandmother who grew up on the Eastside of Jacksonville and taught school in the area. Bryant-Smith grandmother also gave willing of the food in her cupboards and made sure that neighborhood families had enough to eat.
According to a recent Jacksonville Business Journal article, ‘Northwest Jacksonville is considered a food desert because it lacks access to healthy options. City Council plans to review Ordinance 2019-245, which seeks to adopt the “Full-Service Grocery Store Program,” an effort to determine solutions to bring healthy-food stores and educational programs to Northwest Jacksonville. It follows Ordinance 2018-195, which appropriated $3 million from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund to develop programs to improve affordability, education and promote access to healthy food.’ Shown is Bryant-Smith with volunteers.