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‘Operation Love Your Neighbor’ opens with food drive

By Staff | Oct 3, 2009

After the Cape Coral First United Methodist Church heard that Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. did not have enough food in the pantry to provide for the program’s “Hope Bags,” the congregation came together and donated 100 bags of food. A portion of those bags will be delivered to individuals during the church’s second annual “Operation Love Your Neighbor” event today.
Kendra Therell, coordinator of the event said she received an e-mail from CCMI last Friday night indicating that there was not enough food to supply individuals with “Hope Bags.”
“We made the announcement Sunday morning that we needed the bags,” she said.
Therell said in four days time more than 100 bags were donated by members of the church. She said a grocery list was produced with hardy staples on it that included canned meats, beef stew, dried cereal and peanut butter, which will be the items they will provide to individuals this weekend.
“Now the team has enough bags to deliver tomorrow and enough to continue with the Hope Bags for a couple of months,” she explained. “The goal was to collect 25 bags; now we have well over 100.”
Therell said the idea behind “Operation Love Your Neighbor” was for church members to get out in the streets and meet people at their point of need.
“We have encouraged our church members to choose teams or lead teams in areas that they are passionate about,” she said.
Last year Cape Coral First United Methodist Church had approximately 220 folks who participated in the event. This year she is expecting the event to exceed 300 people from Cape Coral First United Methodist Church. Those members will participate in 15 projects.
Some of the teams will participate by mowing vacant properties in Cape Coral communities, singing for Alzheimer’s patients at Gulf Coast Village and cleaning angels will go into four to six elderly and disabled neighbors to do a little house cleaning.
Therell said Operation Love Your Neighbor began to encourage people to get out into the street. She said they have people who are literally doing that.
One of the teams will go out to Pine Manor in Fort Myers to clean the playgrounds the and Community Center to make it a safe place for children to play.
Another team will make and deliver sandwiches for the homeless in Centennial Park between noon and 1 p.m., she said.
The event also will honor the firefighters in the community because they are rarely thanked for their services, Therell said.
“We are taking 100 care packages to them,” she added.
Therell said they also will host a free car wash during the “Operation Love Your Neighbor” event from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday. She said it is the Random Act of Kindness car wash.
“No donations will be accepted, just come and have your car washed,” she said. It will be held at the Pizza Hut on Del Prado Boulevard, near the Coronado Parkway intersection.
Cape Coral First United Methodist Church will have one celebration worship service on Sunday at 10 a.m. Therell said prior to the service a free pancake breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.