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Hurricane Irma

With Hurricane Irma heading to Florida, this is the first time in several years that a major hurricane is expected to hit South Florida. Matthew is a big, slow-moving storm, with powerful winds and lots of rain. It isn’t expected to hit Southwest Florida directly, but we can expect rain, some wind, and possible local flooding. Elsewhere – particularly the east coast of Florida – they will not be so lucky.

We are in close communication with other local organizations, the other Florida food banks, Feeding Florida (our state affiliate) and Feeding America (our national affiliate). Food and relief supplies are staged and ready to be sent where needed. We are waiting to see where the storm goes and what damage it causes before sending aid. When we know what the situation is, we will be prepared to move quickly.

Thank you for your support. We will alert you if the situation changes.

Richard LeBer
President and CEO, Harry Chapin Food Bank

Our Role

The food bank’s role during a hurricane or other natural disaster is not to act as a first responder, but to work cooperatively with other disaster relief organizations, such as the American Red Cross and the United Way, and serve as an avenue for distributing food and other essential grocery items to them and to our partner agencies.

So far, the Southwest Florida coast is expected to experience rainfall of up to 2 inches, according to the latest weather advisories, and winds ranging from 25 to 40 mph.

However, our sister food banks and residents on Florida’s east coast are expected to feel the brunt of Hurricane Matthew. Many east coast residents are traveling to our area to ride out the hurricane. Lee County has declared a local state of emergency to open shelters.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank leadership team has been monitoring this storm, holding daily conference calls with Feeding Florida, the state affiliate of 14 regional food banks, including the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Feeding Florida in turn is working with Feeding America, the national organization of 200 food banks.

How to Help

Once the hurricane passes, the Harry Chapin Food Bank will assess the needs of its five-county service area: Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. Feeding Florida and Feeding America will assess what our sister food banks in the most highly affected areas will need. The Harry Chapin Food Bank stands ready to respond, working with the Feeding Florida and the Feeding America network and with other disaster relief organizations to make donated food and other essential grocery items available to those in greatest need.

In the aftermath of the hurricane, the Harry Chapin Food Bank will let the community know about those needs.

Emergency Resources

Feeding Florida

Feeding Florida is the state’s lead organization in the fight to end hunger. Our statewide network unites 14 member food banks (including the Harry Chapin Food Bank) to provide a healthy, adequate, and consistent food supply to every community every day. Feeding Florida member food banks support more than 2,600 local charitable agencies, which provide food directly to individuals and families in need to ensure a hunger-free Florida. Each year, the Feeding Florida network provides food to the 3.3 million Floridians facing hunger, including 1.1 million children and 700,000 seniors. Feeding Florida is a unified voice regarding hunger and food insecurity by focusing on each community’s needs. To learn more about Feeding Florida, visit

Feeding Florida is part of Florida's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and work with other Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) to help distribute food and water after a disaster. It takes the whole community to help recover. Their partnerships with other organizations like the Harry Chapin Food Bank, American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, the Florida Baptist Convention and our 2500 community partners statewide provide a safety net of care for our neighbors.Visit: for more information.

Feeding America

Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through food pantries and meal programs in communities throughout America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit Find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at


3760 Fowler St., Fort Myers, FL 33901

(239) 334-7007