The Letter Carriers’ National #StampOutHunger Food Drive Saturday struck a blow against summer hunger in Southwest Florida.
The nation’s largest single-day food drive collected a preliminary 187,000 pounds locally that went to the Harry Chapin Food Bank Fort Myers warehouse, with more food still coming in from other post offices in Lee County. The final total is yet to be tallied.
More than 400 volunteers, including food sorters and volunteer drivers, participated along with about 450 letter carriers. Many thanks to them and the members of the community who placed their nonperishable food items by their mailboxes for pickup.
“Every year, we team up with the United Way and the letter carriers to do our largest annual food drive,” said Richard LeBer, president and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “We're so very grateful to them for their hard work and enthusiastic support. This is a great example of how collaboration in our community allows us to take care of our neighbors in need.”
George Sciascia of the U.S. Postal Service coordinated the food drive locally for the letter carriers, assisted by the United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties and the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Publix Supermarkets provided collection grocery bags reminding residents of the food drive. Many Publix employees also volunteered on Saturday.
The Letter Carriers’ Food Drive is pivotal in helping food banks and the agencies they serve stay supplied with food during the summer months, when school is out and the need is great.
The food collected in Lee County will be distributed by the Harry Chapin Food Bank and several other agencies. Collier County donations are distributed by Collier Harvest. The food all stays local and will be distributed at no cost to the agencies.
About the Harry Chapin Food Bank
The Harry Chapin Food Bank provides food for families and others in need through a network of more than 150 nonprofit agencies in Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Glades and Lee counties. The food bank serves 30,000 people monthly. Half of our clients are children and seniors.
The food bank is an affiliate of Feeding America, a network of 200 food banks and the nation’s largest hunger relief organization.
Harry Chapin Food Bank can distribute $6 worth of food and grocery items for each donated dollar. In fiscal year 2014-2015, the Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed 18.4 million pounds of food, valued at about $31.3 million. This was the equivalent of about 15.3 million meals.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank has also received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the national nonprofit watchdog organization, for six consecutive years.