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10th annual Soup Kitchen Benefit set

By Staff | Jan 9, 2013

One of the season’s most anticipated events will celebrate its 10th Anniversary in 2013.

Sam Galloway Jr. & Friends 10th annual Soup Kitchen Benefit will be held Tuesday, March 5, at the Sam Galloway Ford dealership located off Boy Scout Drive. Cocktails will be served at 6 p..m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Maestro Andrew Kurtz will be conducting the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra performing Broadway show stoppers.

Last year’s event sold out with more than 600 guests attending to help raise needed funds for Community Cooperative Ministries Inc., the umbrella agency for the Everyday Cafs and Marketplaces, Meals on Wheels, Community Montessori Preschool and Social and Homeless Services. Each year, local restaurants, companies and individuals donate the southern-style menu including barbeque chicken and pork, fried chicken, coleslaw, fried shrimp, cheese grits, swamp cabbage, gourmet meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gumbo, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, fresh green beans, corn bread, homemade cookies and gourmet chocolates.

The goal of this annual event is to raise as much money as possible for local residents in need.

“This is our 10th year of dear friends and businesses joining together to help those less fortunate in our community,” said Sam Galloway, Jr. in a prepared statement. “I wish we didn’t have to hold this event any longer and that hunger was not an issue in our community. Unfortunately, it is still a serious problem. More of our neighbors and their children are going to need our help, and I plan to help them.”

Impending changes to federal programs have the potential to seriously damage the availability of funds for those who need them the most, the working poor, children and the elderly. These fiscal changes will have a serious impact not only on the most vulnerable community members but also on CCMI and its partner agencies that rely on federal, state or county grants to operate services such as Meals on Wheels. Private donations and grants will become more and more important for CCMI to sustain its mission for the foreseeable future.

Galloway wants to ensure that CCMI can continue helping Lee County’s growing population of hungry gain access to nutritious meals. Ten years ago, he gathered friends in the local restaurant community and beyond to donate their time and services toward a community fundraiser for local homeless and hungry. The event has grown each year with guests who come together for one evening in the Service Department of Galloway Ford. All the monies raised go directly to CCMI to help those in need in Lee County.

“With the money raised at last year’s event, we have been able to continue serving our neighbors in need while developing new and innovative ways to fight hunger and homelessness,” said Tracey Galloway, CEO of CCMI, in a prepared statement.

Those things included expanding CCMI’s social service programs to include comprehensive case coaching and education innovation classes, serving more schools last summer with CCMI’s Mobile Food Pantry and adding more schools and students to its weekend backpack program. In the last year, CCMI has served 80,000 meals from its Fort Myers and Cape Coral Everyday Cafe’s & Marketplaces, 105,000 meals to homebound Meals on Wheels customers and fed more than 1,500 students each school weekend through its emergency backpack and school pantry program.

“Two dollars can feed a family for a day,” Galloway said. “We are all feeling the effects of this economy, but not doing anything for our local neighbors in need is not an option for me, and I can guarantee anyone who attends this event is truly making a difference.”

Tax-deductible sponsorship opportunities and tables are available starting at $2,500. Individual tickets are $150 each. For more information or tickets, visit www.ccmileecounty.com or call CCMI at 239-332-7687, ext. 100.

CCMI serves Fort Myers and the greater Lee County area, including Bonita Springs, Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres. CCMI works in partnership with United Way of Lee, Hendry and Glades, Harry Chapin Food Bank and various community foundations as well as collaborating with fellow community and service groups including The School District of Lee County and numerous churches, businesses and community support organizations.

For more information, call 239-332-7687 or visit www.ccmileecounty.com .