FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU Women’s basketball team had a wonderful opportunity on Sunday, September 19th to participate in LeeTran’s 2nd Annual Food Drive to benefit the Harry Chapin Food Bank. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., volunteers were stationed at Lee County Publix stores to load food donations onto LeeTran buses.
The basketball team was on hand to unload over 33 buses once they arrived at the food bank. “It is always nice to see players and coaches working together for a good cause,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “Everyone at the Harry Chapin Food Bank does such great work. I was proud to see our players’ enthusiasm toward helping others.”
Last year's food drive netted 25 tons of food at a time. About 22,000 people each week rely on the food bank to help feed their families and demand has increased 63% in the past three years.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida was one of the 200+ Food Banks born in the early 1980’s. At it’s inception in 1983, the Food Bank was known as the Lee County Food Cooperative. The Cooperative’s primary responsibility was to help distribute the huge surpluses of cheese and other dairy products held by the federal government.
Since their transition to a new warehouse in 2008 the organization has achieved signficant growth, distributing more than 800,000 pounds of nutritious food per month to those in need in Southwest Florida. In fact, the organization increased their total food distribution from 6,010,040 pounds in 2008-2009 to 9,611,225 pounds, valued at more than $15 million dollars, in 2009-2010 or an overall increase of 60%.
For more information on how you can become involved in the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s volunteer program, visit www.harrychapinfoodbank.org.