CCMI’s Free Food Friday coming to Cape Coral
Last summer Community Cooperative Ministries Inc., along with a team of community partner agencies, fed more than 20,000 hungry individuals across Southwest Florida through its mobile food pantry. This summer, the mobile food pantry is once again being utilized to feed the hungry in our area at a different location each Friday.
Free Food Fridays will give local hungry families an opportunity to receive social services and food from CCMI at a location in the community. The six week program will make its Cape Coral stop on Friday, July 9, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Cape Coral United Way House, located at 1105 Cultural Park Blvd.
Named “Miss Mavis” after Fort Myers’ local Mavis Miller who donated the first $1,000 toward the mobile program, the pantry is a donated beverage delivery tractor-trailer that has been converted into a rolling distribution center. The 34-foot-long trailer has sliding doors on both sides and has been installed with racks to help distribute the canned items more easily. The truck has already made weekly stops in Lehigh Acres and Fort Myers Beach and will also visit Alva, Harlem Heights and Pine Island in coming weeks.
“There is a whole middle class portion of our community who are now food insecure but we are not reaching them either because of the stigma attached to the traditional soup kitchen or our services are not available when and where they can easily access them,” said Sarah Owen, CEO of CCMI. “Free Food Fridays is our gateway to not only provide food to those who need it, but more importantly empower them with tools for long-term sustainability including job training programs, food assistance, scholarship opportunities, budgeting classes and support groups.”
CCMI is partnering with United Way 211, Harry Chapin Food Bank, The Salvation Army, Department of Children and Families ACCESS program and neighborhood agencies in providing food and services for Free Food Fridays.
According to Owen, the emergency food is available to families in Cape Coral with children. Volunteers will be on hand to help hungry families choose a selection of food available from the mobile pantry including canned items, pasta, snacks and seasonal fresh produce that their children will eat.
CCMI is the umbrella agency for the Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry, Meals on Wheels, Montessori Preschool and Social and Homeless Services. CCMI serves Fort Myers and the greater Lee County area, including Bonita Springs, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres. The Soup Kitchen serves a noontime meal six days a week to men, women and children in a traditional soup kitchen setting. In addition, CCMI prepares and delivers nutritious packaged meals and beverages for the homebound hungry, offers a food pantry and mobile food pantry that provide emergency groceries to families in need, serves two nutritious meals a day for the children in their childcare center and oversees a backpack program for local schoolchildren who would otherwise receive little to no food on weekends.
For more information, call 239-332-7687 or visit www.ccmileecounty.com