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Annual food drive kicks off with Labor Day weekend

By Staff | Sep 3, 2011

LeeTran buses will fill Publix parking lots throughout Lee County on Sept. 18 for the annual “Fill our Fleet- Feed Our Hungry” event, which benefits the Harry Chapin Food Bank.

Last year the event collected 72,998 pounds of food during the one day event.Last year there were buses located at 32 Publix during the event.

“As always we appreciate their response and participation,” Harry Chapin Food Bank Associate Director Joyce Jacobs said about the communities participation. “We could not keep going without that.”

Jacobs said with the need being so incredibly high, the annual event is very important.

“Our food supplies are way down, so this will help us tremendously,” she said.

Although any food is welcome for the “Fill our Fleet – Feed Our Hungry” event, Jacobs said they like to focus on protein items like tuna and peanut butter. She said canned fruit also is always good to have on hand.

“Anything right now is a help,” Jacobs said.

Individual donations can be dropped off from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Although some of the Publix grocery stores have already set up pre-packaged bags of groceries at the registers, all of them will have them available for purchase on Labor Day for $6 to $8. Items include tuna, peanut butter and corn.

Jacobs said the prepackaged bags provide individuals the opportunity to help the cause ahead of time.

The buses will leave Publix at 3 p.m. on Sept. 18 to deliver the donated food items to the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s warehouse on Fowler Street, where volunteers will be ready to unload the buses of donations.

More than 30 Publix will participate in the event this year.

Jacobs said 3-1/2 years ago their yearly distribution of food was less than four million pounds of food, which increased last year to 12.5 million pounds of food. Their operation has changed, she said due to the Harry Chapin Food Bank doing more store pickups, along with bringing in more food from other parts of the country to meet the need.

In the month of June alone, the Harry Chapin Food Banks distribution was 1.2 million pounds of food.

For every dollar donated, approximately $6 in food value goes back into the community.

For information call the Harry Chapin Food Bank at 239-334-7007 or visit www.harrychapinfoodbank.org.

The event is being co-sponsored by the Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. and The News-Press Media Group.