Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus

Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Coronavirus 2498 1600 Harry Chapin Food Bank

Friday, May 8, 2020


Your food bank’s productivity has risen astronomically. This week alone, our warehouses have received 1,087,158 pounds of food and distributed a total of 933,876 pounds. This week, your food bank has provided 778,230 meals to those who are hungry. By comparison, prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, your food bank would distribute roughly 375,000 pounds of food each week.

The amount of work required to produce these results cannot be understated. Your food bank team is passionately working at capacity. Like many of you, your food bank team cannot bear the thought of families and children going hungry, and we are doing all that we can do to keep that from happening. We have wrestled with the belief that we are in a marathon, not a sprint. We base this belief in the reality that despite our state reopening in phases, many of the displaced employees are in the hospitality and retail industries. It will take time for our economy to return to healthy levels, leaving many to experience summer hunger for the first time.

Summer hunger is a phenomenon that many in the service industry encounter in Southwest Florida. They often find their incomes cut due to reduced hours related to it being off season. During the summer, these families usually calculate free and reduced lunches during the school year as a strategy to feed their children. As a result, numerous families have less resources for a higher demand for food.

Summer hunger is a regional issue that occurs every summer. It is compounded this year, but your food bank is perfectly poised lead our community in the fight to end hunger. Given that we are working at capacity, we have hired temporary workers in nearly every department to help us meet this unpredicted demand. Your food bank has also rented two additional trucks to help move the astonishing amounts of food throughout our community. We are committed to doing everything in our power to ensure that no one has to go hungry.

Your food bank team is only one ingredient in the recipe that is needed to fuel our mission. We celebrate and give thanks to the thousands who are joining us in our noble work. We have been humbled by your endorsement of our leadership. Hundreds have come to volunteer, working in various capacities.

Many of you have lavished us with financial support. Each gift, regardless of the amount, is critical to our ability to meet the growing and enduring demand. We are currently on pace to incur a $1.5 million a month increase to our operating budget while continuing to practice fiscally sound management principles. With every dollar that is donated, 96 cents go right into programs. Your food bank is incredibly proud to have earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s leading nonprofit watchdog, for the 11th consecutive year.

Thank you for being our helpers. Thank you for responding to the enormous need. We remain grateful to you all for your steadfast support and generosity. It is only together that we can pursue our mission to lead our community in the fight to end hunger.

If you are looking for food, please click here.

To support our feeding efforts, please click here.

If you are well, able, and willing to volunteer, please sign up here.