main menu

Home About Services Testimonial Distribution Most Needed Items Client Stories Photos Contact

Hurricane Irma: Recover, Rebuild, Restore

Food bank campaign to help Southwest Florida recover from Hurricane Irma surpasses its goal

The Harry Chapin Food Bank is thrilled to announce that its Recover, Rebuild, Restore fundraising campaign to help our community recover from Hurricane Irma has raised $590,370. That’s $90,370 above the goal set when the food bank launched the campaign on Sept. 22.

“We are so grateful for the generous support of our many donors, from our local community and beyond,” said Richard LeBer, president and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “Many people will need our help for a long time yet as they recover, rebuild and restore. These donations will enable us to keep helping them.” The campaign started in the days following the hurricane, as the food bank shifted from providing immediate emergency food to helping our partner agencies replenish their pantries and food programs to serve their communities.

As the lead hunger-relief agency helping the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, we wanted to ensure that our neighbors in need received as much food and support as we could possibly provide.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank has received more than 90 tractor-trailer truckloads of food, water and ice and has distributed more than 3.9 million pounds of these supplies in the wake of the hurricane.

The community will remain in recovery mode for a long time. Natural disasters place an even greater strain on those who may not know where their next meal is coming from. Hurricane Irma has limited the resources in our region and our neighbors still face the impact of paying for damages to their home and property, replacing the food they lost and making up for time away from the job. The long-term aftermath of the storm will likely result in higher costs for food, rent, insurance and other expenses of daily life, as well as impact employment, particularly in agriculture.

With our almost 35 years of experience as the leading hunger fighter in Southwest Florida, the Harry Chapin Food Bank is proud to have met this challenge and, with your help and contributions, will continue to help our community recover. We could not do it without you!

Recover, Rebuild, Restore Campaign

Help Harry Chapin Food Bank to help Southwest Florida Recover, Rebuild and Restore

Hurricane Irma t-shirts are available for $10 at our Fort Myers Distribution Center:
3760 Fowler st., Fort Myers.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank is launching a $500,000, six-week campaign to help Southwest Florida Recover, Rebuild, Restore from Hurricane Irma.

We are shifting from distributing at emergency mobile pantries to replenishing our partner agencies with food, so they can distribute to the local communities and neighborhoods they serve.

We want to ensure that our neighbors in need receive as much food and support as we can possibly provide. The food bank can turn every dollar donated into $8 worth of food value. We need to raise $500,000 by Nov. 1 through the Recover, Rebuild, Restore campaign.

This fundraising drive will coincide with our regular services and programs. The food bank partners with more than 150 agencies in Southwest Florida. So far we've been able to contact about 100 agencies that have been able to open their doors. We expect more to come online next week.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank has received and distributed 46 semi-tractor trailer truckloads of disaster relief supplies since Sept. 9. That is equivalent to about 1.85 million pounds of food, water and ice to help provide relief to hurricane victims. And the truckloads are still coming.

We will be in recovery mode for a long time, as a food bank and as a community. People are home from the hurricane shelters, but many have flooded or damaged homes, some still have no power, some have no insurance or no jobs. Thousands of Southwest Floridians will remain in dire need of assistance during the weeks and months ahead. Natural disasters place an even greater strain on those who may not know where their next meal is coming from. Hurricane Irma has limited the resources in our region and the long-term aftermath of the storm will likely result in higher costs for food, rent, insurance and other expenses of daily life.

We know officials, our clients and the public, are watching. With our 35 years of experience as the leading hunger fighter in Southwest Florida, we accept the challenge and are more than up to the task. With your contributions, we will help our community Recover, Rebuild and Restore.

Update: September 25, 2017

Making Tremendous Strides

Although there is now a sense of normalcy after Hurricane Irma, it will take many months to Recover, Restore, Rebuild for many people who have been severely affected. We are here to help.

Since Hurricane Irma:

We received and distributed close to 50 semi-tractor trailer truck loads of food, water and supplies to our neighbors.



We received and distributed over 2 million pounds of food, water and ice.




We held 41 emergency mobile pantry distributions in the community.





Over 100 of our partner-agencies are up and running across our 5-county service area. Those that are open will receive deliveries of food and water for distribution to serve the community.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank has initiated a six-week campaign to help Southwest Florida Recover, Rebuild, Restore from Hurricane Irma. Our goal is to raise $500,000 by Nov. 1 to ensure that our neighbors in need receive the food and resources they need to get back on their feet. Every dollar donated to the food bank equals $8 worth of food.

If you are in a position to make a donation, please visit our website at harrychapinfoodbank.org, and click the donate button at the top left.

Update: September 23, 2017

Harry Chapin Food Bank goes into overdrive to feed Southwest Florida

To give you an idea of the kind of organized frenzy the Harry Chapin Food Bank has been operating under and the volume of food and supplies we're handling in the wake of Hurricane Irma, consider this fact:

The food bank has received and distributed 49 semi-tractor trailer truckloads of disaster relief supplies since Sept. 9, the day before the storm hit.

That's nearly 2 million pounds of food, water and ice to help provide relief to hurricane victims. Generally, the food bank receives about two truckloads of food per day. In the last fiscal year, we distributed a total of 22.3 million pounds of food and produce. So in 11 days, we distributed 9 percent of the food we usually distribute in an entire year.

As of the end of this weekend, we will have held 41 emergency mobile pantries throughout the five-county area we serve: Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. That's 41 pantries in 12 days. Generally, the food bank holds 19-21 mobile food pantries per month.

Added to the food received from FEMA, Feeding America, Feeding Florida, the USDA, various companies like Kellogg's, Wawa and Walmart, the food bank receives donations from generous people like you.

On Friday, a group of five people from St. Petersburg showed up at the food bank with a whole trailer full of food. The trailer belonged to a roofing company called Low Slope Solutions, and Amanda Holup and family brought it down to Fort Myers, along with Abby Allen and Denise Griffin.

Holup said they decided Monday that they were going to bring donations to Southwest Florida, then parked the trailer at a business in their neighborhood and began accepting donations from the community.

"We had to," Holup said. "Saturday (Sept. 9) we saw the (hurricane) path coming to Tampa Bay and said goodbye to everything." Once they made it through the storm unscathed, "there was no way we can't pay it forward," she said.

Help Harry Chapin Food Bank to help Southwest Florida Recover, Rebuild, Restore

The Harry Chapin Food Bank has initiated a $500,000, six-week campaign to help Southwest Florida Recover, Rebuild, Restore from Hurricane Irma.

We are shifting from distributing at emergency mobile pantries to replenishing our partner agencies with food, so they can distribute to the local communities and neighborhoods they serve.

We want to ensure that our neighbors in need receive as much food and support as we can possibly provide. The food bank can turn every dollar donated into $8 worth of food value. We need to raise $500,000 by Nov. 1 through the Recover, Rebuild, Restore campaign.

This fundraising drive will coincide with our regular services and programs. The food bank partners with more than 150 agencies in Southwest Florida.

We will be in recovery mode for a long time, as a food bank and as a community. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is the leading hunger relief organization in Southwest Florida. We are recognized as a four-star organization by Charity Navigator, the national nonprofit watchdog organization. The food bank is also a United Way partner agency.

Update: September 22, 2017

Recover, Rebuild, Restore

Rescue and relief efforts have been underway for nearly two weeks in our community, but the road to recovery will be a prolonged and extensive journey.

Thousands of Southwest Floridians will remain in dire need of assistance during the weeks and months ahead. If you are in a position to help others, please join forces with the Harry Chapin Food Bank to Recover, Rebuild, Restore our community. With this new fund raiser, we are aiming to raise $500,000 by November 1 in order to support emergency and long-term relief.

In the days immediately after Hurricane Irma, we ramped up our mobile pantry program to bring emergency food and water directly to communities that were affected by the storm. At the Amigos Center in Immokalee, for example, residents stood in line in the sweltering heat for over two hours, waiting to receive water, ice, ready-to-eat meals, and cereal bars.

For our neighbors who struggle with food insecurity, natural disasters place an even greater strain on their livelihood. Not only has Hurricane Irma limited resources in our region, the long-term aftermath of the storm will likely result in higher costs for food, rent, insurance, and other expenses of daily life.

We must make an enduring commitment to a full recovery. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is doing everything we can to support residents who need assistance now, as well as those who will need our help in the period ahead. In addition to increasing our mobile distributions, our regular services also include supplying our network of partner agencies with the food they need to reopen and expand their pantries and feeding programs in the wake of Irma.

Through Recover, Rebuild, Restore, we want to ensure that our neighbors in need receive as much food and support as we can possibly provide, but we can't do it alone. This $500,000 initiative will coincide with our regular services and programs, which means that we need additional support from the community so that Southwest Florida can make a full recovery.

It will take all of us working together to overcome the effects of Hurricane Irma. If you can and are able, please make a special gift today to help our hurting neighbors and fellow Southwest Floridians. Every $1 you give equals $8 worth of food, which means that your donation can go even further during this time of hardship.

Update: September 21, 2017

Setting the stage for recovery

Another day, another 9-and-a-half semi truckloads. This makes nearly 37 truckloads of food, water and ice coming in so far to the Harry Chapin Food Bank's Fort Myers Distribution Center since Hurricane Irma.

Walking among the towers of food and supplies in the warehouse is like walking through a mini-cityscape, with stacks of FEMA meals-ready-to eat, cartons of snacks and cereal bars, and pallets of peanut butter piled high instead of skyscrapers.

This is recovery mode, which will continue for months. People are home from the hurricane shelters, but many have flooded or damaged homes, some still have no power, some have no insurance or no jobs. We have brought in more than 1.5 million pounds of food and water to help provide relief to hurricane victims.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank will start to cut back on the number of emergency mobile food pantries we hold from four or five per day to just two a day. We are shifting from emergency mobile pantries to replenishing our partner agencies with food. The food bank partners with more than 150 agencies. So far we've been able to contact about 100 agencies and about 80 are opening their doors.

Our retail pickup program, which picks up produce, baked goods and food items from about 140 retail stores, will resume Monday. But things are still far from normal.

We know officials, our clients and the public, are watching. With our 35 years of experience as the leading hunger fighter in Southwest Florida, we accept the challenge and are more than up to the task.

Robin Bailey Jr., Southeast Regional Administrator for theU.S. Department of Agriculture, stopped by the food bank today to see the status of the hurricane relief work. "We're actually here to see what's going on on the ground, to make sure the food bank has the inventory necessary to meet the needs here," Bailey said.

Vivian Myrtetus, chief executive officer of VolunteerFlorida in Tallahassee, was also here on Tuesday to check things out. Both seemed pleased with the way the Harry Chapin Food Bank is working to help hurricane victims.

There are two sites coordinated by the Harry Chapin Food Bank, one in Naples and one in Immokalee, where people can drop off food and other supplies to be donated to hurricane victims.

The Naples food drive site is outside our new Naples warehouse at 3940 Prospect Ave., No. 101. Donation hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Friday. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

The Immokalee donation site is at the Immokalee Foundation, 908 Roberts Avenue W., Immokalee. Donation hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Update: September 20, 2017

Breaking records, bringing relief

This has got to be a new record. As of Tuesday, the Harry Chapin Food Bank had received 27 semi-tractor-trailer loads of food, water and ice since Sept. 9, the day before Hurricane Irma hit. If each truck carries about 40,000 pounds, that means the total food brought in to the food bank so far is 1,080,000 pounds!

About 200,000 pounds of that number came in on Monday alone, said Eric Hitzeman, the food bank operations director. In addition, we have held 18 emergency mobile pantries so far for hurricane victims, with eight more scheduled, said Kari Lefort, food bank programs director. They've been in all five counties the food bank serves: Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry.

And we've started two new food donation sites in Naples and Immokalee.

The Naples food drive site is outside our new Naples warehouse at 3940 Prospect Ave., No. 101. Donation hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and Thursday. Hours will be adjusted daily as needed.

The new Immokalee donation site opens today at the Immokalee Foundation, 908 Roberts Avenue W., Immokalee. Donation hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

These are the kinds of facts and figures the food bank staff finds out about at our daily 7:30 a.m. meetings. We get a roundup from Richard LeBer, our president and CEO, of what we've done, where we stand, and the plans for what we need to do that day and beyond.

Update: September 17, 2017

Semi-update: A total of 18 semi-tractor trailer trucks have come to the Harry Chapin Food Bank bearing food, water and ice since Sept. 9, according to our operations director, Eric Hitzeman. The pace is going to rev up even more next week!


Our warehouse staff zipped around on their electric palletjacks in a dance of organized chaos, unloading trucks,loading trucks, moving pallets around until the warehouse was packed. But there's still room for more to help Southwest Floridians recover from Hurricane Irma. This is a food bank - the food comes in, the food goes out - deposits, withdrawals. We had more good news Friday! Government food that is restricted to certain programs has been released for disaster relief, which means the food bank can provide more food to the community.

Update: September 15, 2017

Emergency Distributions

Monday, Sept 18


Cape Community Foundation - Cape Coral 7th Day Adventist Church
4 to 6 p.m.
1813 El Dorado Pkwy W, Cape Coral, FL


Suncoast Community Center
10 a.m. to noon
2241 Case Ln, North Fort Myers


Sunday, Sept 17


New Operation Cooper St.
10 a.m. to noon
650 Mary St., Punta Gorda


JFCS Parking Lot
10 a.m. to noon
5025 Castello Drive, Naples



Wistlers Cover
10 a.m. to noon
11400 Whistlers Cove Blvd., Naples


Saturday, Sept 16


Holy Martyrs Mission Catholic Church
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
4920 Crescent Ave., LaBelle



Faith Presbyterian Church
10 a.m. to noon
4544 Coronado Parkway, Cape Coral



Palmetto Palms community
10 a.m. to noon
19681 Summerlin Road, Fort Myers



Amigos Center
10 a.m. to noon
106 S Second St., Immokalee


Friday, Sept 15


Cape Coral Assembly of God
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
717 Skyline Blvd., Cape Coral


First Assembly of God Cornerstone Ministries
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
3220 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers


Goodlette Arms Apartments
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
950 Goodlette-Frank Road, Naples


Iglesia Cristiana Misionera
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
1311 Edward Ave., Lehigh Acres


Food Donation Drop-off

Our friends at WINK News and Six Southwest Florida radio stations are collecting food and supplies for the Harry Chapin Food Bank as part of Hurricane Irma relief efforts. FLY 98.5, 94.5 The Arrow, 97.7 Latino, 96.9 WINK-FM, 92.5 Fox News and 93X will be collecting donations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bell Tower Shops on Daniels Parkway and U.S. 41 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

You can also drop off food donations to our Fort Myers distribution center at: 3760 Fowler St., Fort Myers, FL

Update: September 13, 2017

Harry Chapin Food Bank will distribute emergency food, water to Red Cross shelters, other donations in Lehigh Acres, Immokalee this week

The Harry Chapin Food Bank will be distributing food and water to American Red Cross shelters and other donations in Lehigh Acres, Naples and Immokalee.

Disaster Relief Distributions

The mobile distributions will be at the following locations:
Goodwill/Job Link
9 to 11 a.m. on Sept. 13
2825 Lee Blvd., in Lehigh Acres

Amigos Center
10 a.m. to noon on Sept. 13
106 S. Second St., Immokalee.

Parkside Elementary School
11 to 1 p.m. on Sept. 14
5322 Texas Avenue, Naples

Update: September 12, 2017

The Collier County Center survived Hurricane Irma intact. There are toppled trees on the property, but the new space is in good shape. We will continue renovating the location once power is restored. Stay tuned for more details about our Collier County Center opening.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank is up and running and ready to help in Hurricane Irma recovery. We are expecting truckloads of food and water today, with more to come. The food bank has 35 years of experience in assisting the Southwest Florida area during emergency situations and we’re putting that experience into action.

The food bank’s role is to assist first responders such as the American Red Cross and FEMA to provide and distribute food. The Red Cross has requested help in all five counties affected: Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry.

Our staff is contacting our partner agencies to see what their needs are. So far, we have sent two trucks to Charlotte County to deliver to four different agencies. We also sent a truck to the Feeding With Hope pantry in Clewiston. Staff from Jesus the Worker in Lee County, where 150 people are being sheltered, are coming to pick up items this afternoon. The items being delivered include water, MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) and snacks. This is just the beginning of our relief effort.

Other than the truckloads of food that will be delivered in the coming days, donations of water, canned food, and other nonperishable foods are being accepted from the public from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily at our Fort Myers warehouse at 3760 Fowler St. Canned foods with pop tops are recommended. Cleaning supplies and paper products are also welcome.

Monetary donations are especially welcome at harrychapinfoodbank.org . The Harry Chapin Food Bank can turn a $1 donation into $8 worth of food. As people begin assessing the devastation in their communities, our sister food banks and Feeding Florida, our state association, are working together to meet increased needs. Feeding America continues to support the network’s efforts by securing food and funds from national donors and network members, coordinating with government officials and national organizations, and providing technical assistance as needed.

We appreciate everyone’s help and concern for our community!

Update: September 11, 2017

We will be open tomorrow, September 12, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to begin relief efforts.

Our best wishes go out to all as we deal with damage and begin to recover. We are here for our neighbors. The food bank is assessing damage and have already begun contacting our partner agencies. We are requesting donations and volunteers to help with relief efforts at this time.

Our Fort Myers facility had some minor damage, but nothing significant enough to keep us from responding to the needs of our community.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank, Feeding America, Feeding Florida, and other disaster responder organizations continue to work closely to rapidly respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Together we will be helping to identify and meet the needs across affected areas.

Update: September 9, 2017

The Harry Chapin Food Bank will be closed on Monday, September 11, and will reopen as soon as possible after the storm passes to assist first responders such as the American Red Cross and FEMA to provide and distribute food. In the meantime, the following upcoming food bank event has been cancelled until further notice:

“Food for Thought,” 7:45 to 9 a.m. Sept. 14, a meet-and-greet with Richard LeBer, our CEO, featuring a tour of the food bank and a light breakfast.

This event will be rescheduled in the near future. In the meantime, we remain committed to helping our neighbors in need through the hurricane and beyond.

Update: September 7, 2017


We have cancelled the following mobile pantries through Monday:

-Peace River Elementary, Port Charlotte
-Bonita Springs Lions Club, Bonita Springs
-Ciclovia, Immokalee
-Beautiful Savior Church, Lehigh Acres

We will make determinations on future distributions as soon as we are able to.

For more updates and information, please check our Facebook site.

With Hurricane Irma heading to Florida, it is unknown exactly where the storm will make landfall. Irma is a Category 5 storm, with powerful winds, rain, and potentially catastrophic.

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.

We will be checking in with our agencies, the other Florida food banks, Feeding Florida, and Feeding America over the course of the storm. If we are not severely affected by Irma and can still operate from our Fort Myers facility, we are ready to provide aid and assistance, if requested.

Once again, we ask that you resist the urge to rush to help or send donations to those areas affected by the storm, until it is clear what they need. Premature volunteers or donations are likely to impede relief efforts and go to waste.

Potential remains for considerable damage from wind, rain, and storm surges, and there is still the potential for injury or loss of life. We hold all areas affected by this storm in our thoughts and prayers. We hope they will remain safe.

Thank you for your support. We will alert you if the situation changes. Richard LeBer President and CEO, Harry Chapin Food Bank


Donations:


Your donation right now will go toward helping families have the food, water, and supplies they need as their lives are turned upside down.

You can donate unused hurricane food supplies with our neighbors in need by donating them to the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Food Donations

Fort Myers:

Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

3760 Fowler Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Naples

Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

3940 Prospect Ave. #101
Naples, FL 34104

Most needed items:


-canned ready-to-eat items with pull up tops
-protein in pouches or pull up tops (tuna, beef stew, chili, canned chicken)
-peanut butter
-snacks (granola bars, breakfast bars, etc.)
-toiletries
-paper goods
-diapers
-cleaning supplies (mops, mop buckets, brooms, bleach wipes, bleach, garbage bags, bug spray)

To be most efficient in our relief efforts, donated items not on this list, such as blankets, clothing, or similar items, may interfere with our volunteers' ability to effectively sort and distribute the most needed items. Thank you for your understanding.

Volunteer:

If you would like to volunteer with relief efforts, please email Tanya Phillips, tphillips@harrychapinfoodbank.org. Once we assess the needs, Tanya will be in contact with you.

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.


Photos


How to Help

Donations:


Your donation right now will go toward replenishing our partner agencies with food, so they can distribute to the local communities and neighborhoods they serve.

You can donate unused hurricane food supplies with our neighbors in need by donating them to the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Food Donations

Fort Myers:

Monday through Friday: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

3760 Fowler Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Naples

Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

3940 Prospect Ave. #101
Naples, FL 34104

Most needed items:


-canned ready-to-eat items with pull up tops
-protein in pouches or pull up tops (tuna, beef stew, chili, canned chicken)
-peanut butter
-snacks (granola bars, breakfast bars, etc.)
-toiletries
-paper goods
-diapers
-cleaning supplies (mops, mop buckets, brooms, bleach wipes, bleach, garbage bags, bug spray)

To be most efficient in our relief efforts, donated items not on this list, such as blankets, clothing, or similar items, may interfere with our volunteers' ability to effectively sort and distribute the most needed items. Thank you for your understanding.

Right now, monetary donations are the most beneficial, as the food bank can turn $1 into $8 worth of food and the kinds and amount of food can be tailored to the community's specific needs. This video will show you how:



Volunteer:

If you would like to volunteer with relief efforts, please email Tanya Phillips, tphillips@harrychapinfoodbank.org. Once we assess the needs, Tanya will be in contact with you.

Emergency Resources

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 www.FeedingFlorida.org.

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: feedingflorida.org for more information.

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 feedingamerica.org. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.


Upcoming Disaster Relief Distributions

For a list of upcoming mobile pantries, visit: harrychapinfoodbank.org/about-us/mobile-pantry-schedule.

Most Needed Items

-canned ready-to-eat items with pull up tops
-protein in pouches or pull up tops (tuna, beef stew, chili, canned chicken)
-peanut butter
-snacks (granola bars, breakfast bars, etc.)
-toiletries
-paper goods
-diapers
-cleaning supplies (mops, mop buckets, brooms, bleach wipes, bleach, garbage bags, bug spray)

To be most efficient in our relief efforts, donated items not on this list, such as blankets, clothing, or similar items, may interfere with our volunteers' ability to effectively sort and distribute the most needed items. Thank you for your understanding.

Stories

Charles

But beyond the facts and figures of the recovery, there are the faces of recovery. Like Charles, who came to the Suncoast Community Center emergency mobile pantry in North Fort Myers on Monday. He made sure everyone was taken care of before he would take any food for himself. Charles is recovering from recent shoulder surgery, but that didn't stop him from helping people to their car with cases of water bottles.

Although the damage to his home from Hurricane Irma was minimal, his landscaping took a hit. "I've got more trees in my yard than Carter's got liver pills," he said. Charles not only volunteers at mobile pantries, but is also a recipient. "I wait until everyone receives food first. If there ain't [sic] nothing left, I don't eat."

Gary

Some of the people at the Suncoast mobile pantry said they were homeless and told how they weathered the storm. Gary, aka "Jake the snake" identified himself as a Vietnam Vet. He said he rode the hurricane out in his tent. "The water got so high, I swam out of my little tent when it fell over," Gary said. "The water was up to my chest when the tent was blown over. I was hoping the wind would blow it back up. It got me good. I came close to climbing into a dumpster for shelter from the wind."

John

John said he lost it all. "I only have three pairs of pants," he said. "My sleeping bag and all went down the creek. Everything I own is down the creek. Pills and all." John said he is sleeping in his truck, which is partially under water. "I am afraid to try and start it, with all the water it may suck into the motor."

Montes Eliscar

Montes Eliscar waited patiently at an emergency mobile pantry distribution held by the Harry Chapin Food Bank in Naples. His power has been out since Irma devastated the area. “I can’t sleep at night and supplies are scarce,” he said. He luckily escaped the storm with a few trees that just missed his house. “I am very thankful. All the trees that came down in my area seemed to fall away from peoples’ homes.”

Amigos Center

The sweltering scene at the Amigos Center in Immokalee featured a long line of residents standing in the hot sun, some for more than two hours, waiting patiently for food. The Harry Chapin Food Bank held a mobile pantry for hurricane victims there Wednesday and gave out water, ice, MREs (Meals-Ready-to-Eat) and some Kellogg's snacks.


Sandra

Sandra had come a long way by the time she got to the mobile pantry. She lives in Naples near the Everglades, and she evacuated with her three children, ages 18, 5 and 2, in the face of a possible storm surge from Hurricane Irma. But she went from shelter to shelter, being turned away, until she found a place at the sixth shelter in Immokalee High School.

"Immokalee is a small community without big resources," she said. Only one store was open, there was no gas, little food, no information on disaster relief and how to apply for it. She still doesn't know what damage is awaiting her when she returns home.

Her friend, Sara, was also in line with her daughter, Reina, 6, and her mother Marcia. Sara has five children, ages 11 months to 11 years. They are "very frustrated, very hungry," she said. Marcia leaves the shelter to try and scrounge extra food and ice for the grandkids.

They were happy and grateful to receive MREs, water and ice. The Harry Chapin Food Bank quickly ran out of items to distribute to the crowd, but they kept on coming. Then employees from the Collier County Code Enforcement office showed up and brought two pickup trucks with more MREs and water. That, too, was soon gone. We fed about 300 families, and had to turn people away.


Contact

Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida

3760 Fowler St.
Fort Myers, FL 33901

(239) 334-7007

harrychapinfoodbank.org

fighthunger@harrychapinfoodbank.org