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Free food welcomed in Cape Coral

By Staff | Jul 10, 2010

The truck broke down in the morning but it did not stop food from being delivered to the United Way House near city hall on Friday.
As part of Community Cooperative Ministries’ Summer Food Service Program, food is delivered to different points in the community and distributed for free to anyone in need.
Friday was the Cape’s turn, and over 100 people turned out to take advantage of the program, after a back up truck was able deliver the much needed food.
Cape resident Rose Augustin said she heard about the program through a friend.
Augustin added that she liked the way the program was set up, allowing people to choose their food instead of simply being handed a pre-packed bag of items.
“I needed food, so I came down here,” Augustin said. “A friend told me all about it.
Letting people choose their food was key to the program, said Debra Almeida, CCMI’s Chief Operating Officer.
It allowed people to select the items they needed specifically for their homes, making the needy a more proactive part of the process, and alleviating waste.
The food — which included Ramen Noodles, fresh cabbage, soups, macaroni and cheese, among other items — was enough to feed 400 people.
Almeida said there is always food left over at the end of the day, because people never take more than they need.
“We always have left overs,” Almeida said. “People never take more than what their family needs.”
The “new face of homelessness”, as Almeida calls them, are a group of people that do not appear, on the surface, to have the typical look of those searching for their next meal.
Almeida said they are an entire group of middle class people who are struggling greatly — bank managers, business owners, Realtors — people you wouldn’t peg as being in need.
She said the food service is a way to not only feed people but reach out to them, offer them other services including counseling, medical attention and employment.
“We’re sitting down with each person and wrapping support around the food service,” she said.
Volunteers have been crucial to the free food service program, and all the programs offered through CCMI or the United Way.
On Friday volunteers delivered and unpacked food, and helped people select food and then carry it to their cars.
Cape resident Craig Nelms said he’s been helping CCMI with its food service all over the county. Most recently Nelms was helping on Fort Myers Beach.
“I love helping people,” Nelms said. “It’s rough out there. No one should go hungry, especially in this country.”
The next three free food services locations are: July 16, 4 – 6 p.m., United Methodist Church, Alva; July 23, 4 – 6 p.m., Edisto Lakes Apartments, Harlem Heights; July 30, 4 – 6 p.m., Beacon of H.O.P.E., Pine Island.
For information call CCMI at 332-7687