Big or small, every gift makes a difference

Tags: Lee County, Mobile Pantry

“I wish it could be more…”

“Wish it was more; this is the best I can do…”

These two handwritten notes – scrawled on small pieces of paper – accompanied two recent donations to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. In the middle of otherwise routine days of processing donations, these apologetic declarations gave me pause and made me think.

These are still tough economic times for many. Day in and day out, I’m impressed by the generosity of the Southwest Florida community and its willingness to be there for our neighbors who struggle with hunger.

I recently had the opportunity to see firsthand what this support means: what it means when we say that for every $1 donated, the Harry Chapin Food Bank can source and rescue $6 worth of nutritious food, and what that food means to the people our donors help with their support.


At a recent mobile pantry at Tice United Methodist Church in Fort Myers, I saw hundreds of men and women, children and seniors from all walks of life line up to receive squash, carrots, cucumbers and other produce; meat; and other food that would help them through the coming days. I talked with a woman who is unable to work because she’s caring for her sick daughter. Now, the woman’s family struggles to make ends meet on her husband’s salary. With each passing person and each conversation, I reflected on the notes from the two donors, roughly calculating in my mind just how much of the bounty that poured from the mobile pantry trucks was a direct result of their donations.

The donations accompanying those two notes are worth so much more than their monetary value, small or large as it may be. Not only because each dollar is turned into six dollars’ worth of food, but because, on that sunny, warm day in Tice, each of those contributions was turned into hope. The thing about the notes is, as touching as they are, they’re not necessary. No donation is too small. Every dollar contributed makes a real difference in the lives of those who need it most.

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