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Salvation Army seeks food donations

By Staff | Sep 3, 2011

Due to the steady demand for food assistance in Lee County, the Salvation Army is seeking donations to restock its shelves to meet the ongoing demand.

On average, between 70 and 85 families are in need of assistance from the food pantry on a daily basis, which makes it difficult for the Salvation Army to keep up.

Before the recession, they were seeing no more than 15 families a day seeking assistance, said Merrilu Bennett, spokesperson for the Salvation Army of Lee, Hendry and Glades counties. In 2008, the number of families needing assistance went up drastically and has not gone back down since.

“The problem is even though the numbers steadily increase each year, the funding is decreasing,” she said.

The Salvation Army will receive help from Oct. 3-14 once schools in the Lee County School District begin its annual canned food drive. So far, 52 schools have confirmed participation in the food drive, including 15 schools from Cape Coral.

Bennett said last year they had 70 schools take part in the drive, 20 of which were Cape Coral schools.

“Two of those schools actually won awards for bringing in the most donations,” she said, adding that those schools were Hector A. Cafferata Jr. Elementary School and Island Coast High School.

Schools that wish to sign up for the canned food drive can call Valerie at The Salvation Army at 239-278-1551 ext. 210 .

Additional funds are also being sought to help with the demand.

“We hope to identify some additional funding by then to purchase more food,” she said.

Bennett said the next four to six weeks is going to be a critical period.

Donations of canned meat, tuna fish, canned vegetables, peanut butter, rice, beans and pasta are needed.

Locations where donations can be dropped off at include the Salvation Army Social Service campus, 2400 Edison Ave.; Central Family Store, 1855 Boy Scout Drive; Cape Coral Family Store, 4506 Del Prado Blvd.; South Fort Myers Family Store, 15418 S. Tamiami Trail and the Salvation Army Administrative Office, 10291 McGregor Blvd.