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Cape’s Caring Center kicks off summer campaign

By Staff | Jun 12, 2015

This week the Cape Coral Caring Center kicked off its summertime campaign to increase food donations for those in need, with the help of some local organizations and businesses.

The SOS Save Our Summer, Feed The Cape kicked off on Tuesday evening at Rumrunners at the Marina at Cape Harbour. In its third year, the goal of the campaign is to bring in additional donations for the center from June through August to assist those in the community hit harder in the summer.

The Cape Coral Caring Center helps feed approximately eight families per day in the winter.

“In the summertime, it’s not unusual for us to see 30 families a day,” Julie Ferguson, executive director of the center, said. “A family of five is going to leave our panty with around 100 pounds of food.”

She explained that as tourist season is over and snowbirds return home, the donations at the center decrease. At the same time, parents may see their incomes drop sharply, like those in service industry professions, while children are home and no longer receiving free breakfasts and lunches at school.

“Kids are home for the summer, so their grocery bills are bigger,” Ferguson said.

“Our donations traditionally have gone down and our client volume has gone up,” she added.

With the support of entities like the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, Cape Coral Construction Industry Association and others, the center started the campaign as a way to balance out the shift.

Last year, the campaign brought in about 7,500 pound of food and $36,000 worth of monetary donations. It raised 10,000 pounds of food and $16,000 in the first year it was promoted.

“I would say our goal this year is 10,000 pounds of food and $40,000,” Ferguson said, explaining that monetary donations tend to go farther. “We can make money multiple with our purchasing power.”

As part of SOS Save Our Summer, Feed The Cape, locations throughout the Cape have set up collection boxes where people can drop off non-perishables, like boxed and canned food.

“We put drop boxes in areas all over the city and hope that people will donate to us,” she said.

Cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, spaghetti and soups are some suggestions.

“Peanut butter and jelly is always wonderful,” Ferguson said. “That goes very very fast.”

People are welcome to donate fresh fruit and such by visiting the center directly.

“We do give fresh produce and perishable food items,” she said.

Besides the drop boxes, the campaign partners will host various events in the coming weeks.

“At the kickoff, we raised just around $4,000, and we received about 500 pounds of food,” Ferguson said of the Rumrunners event.

On July 9, the SOS Smackdown will be held starting at 5 p.m. at the Dixie Roadhouse, at 1023 S.E. 47th Terrace. The various organizations will ask people to bring food or monetary donations, which the donors put toward one group or another. The organization that brings in most wins the smackdown.

“It’s a friendly competition of groups,” she said.

The event is open to the public; admission is a food item or monetary donation.

There will be 50/50 raffles, prizes and more.

Attendees will receive a coupon for a free well drink.

“There will be all kinds of things going on that night,” Ferguson said.

The CCCIA plans to host a Texas Hold’em event on July 17.

“Throughout the summer different people and different organizations will be doing things to raise money and food for Feed The Cape,” she said. “Keep an eye out.”

The Cape Coral Caring Center only assists Cape residents and there are income restrictions. For more information on eligibility, stop by the center between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Applicants must have a driver’s license or identification card.

“We don’t turn people away. Every family or person is income qualified and interviewed,” Ferguson said. “They will leave the center with food that day.”

For information, call 239-945-1927 or visit: www.capecoralcaringcenter.org.

The Cape Coral Caring Center is at 4645 SE 15th Ave.