Harry’s Helpings fills a need

Harry’s Helpings fills a need 800 800 Harry Chapin Food Bank

Harry’s Helpings is a hit! Our new program to help food-insecure families at sites where neither partner agencies nor mobile pantries are available or feasible is flourishing.

The pilot program began about six months ago. Families receive food kits, or boxes, that contain a variety of nutritious, non-perishable foods. The kits provide 15 to 20 pounds of food and can be enough to prepare an average 15 meals, serving entire families.

They include canned vegetables and canned meat, cereal, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, soups and stews, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, rice and beans.

The kits are distributed at partner sites during pre-scheduled events, said Monica Correa, programs outreach manager. “We started in November with monthly distributions at three sites and have distributed around 1,250 kits through May,” she said. “Besides these permanent sites we have sent Harry’s Helpings to special events in Lee and Collier County  that could add another 500 kits or so.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Charlotte County is one of the sites to receive Harry’s Helpings. “I think the program is amazing,” said Lynn Dorler, club executive director. “The families are so appreciative of the food. It is a huge help.”

Other one-time distributions have been held at the Lee County Homeless Coalition and at a health fair.

The kits are given out in the schools or sites where in-school pantries aren’t feasible because of the school’s location, lack of transportation, the capacity to store food or the staff to manage it, Correa said. “This is a solution.”

To donate in support of this program, call (239) 334-7007 or email giving@harrychapinfoodbank.org;