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2011 Hunger Summit to be held Friday

By Staff | Apr 25, 2011

As many more faces of hunger emerge in Southwest Florida, the 2011 Hunger Summit and Agency Conference will sharpen its focus on children. More than 130 representatives from agencies serving the five counties of Southwest Florida — Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades — are expected to convene on Friday, April 29 at Hodges University, located on Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers, to develop collaborations and new ways to help the burgeoning numbers of our neighbors in need.

“This generous community of agencies, volunteers, and donors didn’t walk away when things were tough in 2010,” said Al Brislain, Executive Director of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “Unfortunately, our work is even harder this year, as families struggle to keep food on their table and a roof over their heads. Too often the choice is either-or.”

The public is invited to attend the Summit, which is offered through the auspices of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. The one-day event begins with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m.; the program begins at 8:45 and concludes at 4:30 p.m. A box lunch will be provided on the premises.

In 2010, the Food Bank distributed 11.5 million pounds of food and other grocery items valued at more than $18 million. This is roughly the equivalent of 9 million meals to people in need, representing an increase in distribution of 42 percent over calendar year 2009. Children represent 40 percent of the clients served by the Food Bank’s 170 partner agencies, which last year served more than 30,000 people monthly.

The fourth annual intensive, one-day program kicks off with a close look at the numbers from the 2010 Hunger Study and 2009 Map The Meal Gap. The keynote addresses by Mark Biewald and Dave Blair, Feeding America, will involve capacity building. Then, child hunger will come to the fore as agencies present some of their successes in meeting the ever-growing need, as well as the challenges that lay ahead.

Concurrent workshops will focus on nutrition education, grant writing, food safety, SNAP and Food Banking 101. At previous Hunger Summits, participants learned how to mobilize their resources to improve results, more effectively collaborate and partner with other agencies within their community, and extend and deepen their outreach to government officials.

There is no cost for attending, but reservations are required. They may be obtained by calling Ashley Overlock at 239-334-7007 ext. 107 or sending an e-mail to ashleyoverlock@harrychapinfoodbank.org.