Saturday, October 1, 2022
It’s been a busy day at the Food Bank.
We have been busy helping our neighbors. We held a special distribution of water and MREs in Cape Coral this morning, and fed about 800 families. We fed another 600 families at Harn’s Marsh Middle School in Lehigh Acres. We sent a large load to Gladiolus Food Pantry in Iona. We also dispatched about 15 emergency deliveries to a variety of locations, as requested by Emergency Operations Centers.
While all of this was going on, we received 10 truckloads of water and meals. More is on the way.
Many of our staff worked tirelessly on their weekend to make this possible. I am so grateful to all of them for their dedication.
We have challenges, but we are making progress. Our team cleaned up the Fort Myers warehouse. We have had a preliminary assessment of damage to our roof, and hope to have a temporary repair completed soon. We have installed a generator in Naples to restore power. Both facilities have power, water, refrigeration, air conditioning, phones, WIFI, and internet. (Conditions in the office are better than what many of us are experiencing at home.)
It is clear that we have challenging times ahead. I have been traveling around our region ever since the storm finished. I have been in Fort Myers, South Fort Myers, South Cape Coral, West Cape Coral near Pine Island, Lehigh Acres, Bonita Springs, North Naples, South Naples, East Naples, and Immokalee. Never in my life (including after Hurricane Irma) have I seen such widespread devastation.
In all of this, we are already receiving abundant support from our community, partners, and food bank network. Food is being sent. Volunteers are being organized. I have lost count of the many offers of aid, of all kinds.
Our community needs us. While we are still gathering information and assessing the situation, we are quickly putting together a plan for our work over the coming several months.
We know that this is a challenging time. Many of us suffered personal losses. Like everyone in our community, we are hurting and stunned by this experience. Nonetheless, our community is counting on us.
Thank you for your support.
Richard LeBer, President and CEO
Harry Chapin Food Bank