Save Our Summer food drive under way
With the arrival of summer begins a local annual effort to help those in need in Cape Coral.
The Cape Coral Caring Center recently announced the start of the SOS Save Our Summer, Feed the Cape campaign. The goal is to bring in additional food and monetary donations for the center to give to those who may find themselves in more of a financial bind during the out-of-season summer months.
“The idea is that during the summer months, kids are out of school,” Julie Ferguson, the center’s executive director, said. “They’re not receiving free lunch and breakfast.”
“And since much of our community is service-based, the working people’s incomes go down,” she added. “They’re not as needed during the summer months, when tourist season is over.”
It is the fifth year that the center has pushed the campaign.
“We accept food donations of non-perishable food items,” Ferguson said.
“We accept monetary donations, as well,” she added. “Donations are tax-deductible.”
Each year, local businesses volunteer to serve as drop-off locations.
“As soon as school let out this year, we started putting boxes in businesses,” Ferguson said.
The official campaign kickoff will be held on July 13 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Dixie Roadhouse. It will also feature the Dixie’s annual fundraiser, the SOS Save Our Summer, Feed the Cape Smack Down.
Last year, the campaign raised about $37,000 and 35,000 pounds of food in total.
“We want to raise 50,000 pounds of food and $50,000 this year,” she said.
“That will help make a difference and make sure we’re able to feed all of the needy,” Ferguson said.
To donate, stop by the center on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon or stop by any of the businesses with a collection box. To serve as a drop-off location, call the center at 239-945-1927.
“We deliver, so we’d be happy to deliver a box and pick up the box when it’s full,” she said.
Some needed items are boxes of cereal, canned ravioli, and microwaveable macaroni and cheese.
“Anything that is kid-friendly is perfect,” Ferguson said.
She added that a grant from the Rotary Club of Cape Coral provided the center with jars of peanut butter. The center does not have any jelly, however, so jelly jars would also be a great donation.
“We would welcome pasta and pasta sauce,” Ferguson said.
She noted that plastic jars are always easier for staff to handle than glass jars.
“We also accept non-food items, like toilet paper, toothbrushes, cleaning supplies and bars of soap,” Ferguson said.
Monetary donations can be dropped off at the center or mailed.
“We always accept checks and cash,” she said.
People can also visit online at: www.capecoralcaringcenter.org/.
“You can make donations there,” Ferguson said.
Asked about how important the campaign is for the Cape, she described a recent encounter.
“A woman came in (to the center) and she was just sobbing. She was clearly in crisis mode and clearly in a serious situation,” Ferguson said. “When she left, she was happy – we helped her through that.”
“That was not an isolated incident,” she added. “This happens.”
For more information, call 239-945-1927 or visit: www.capecoralcaringcenter.org/.
The Cape Coral Caring Center is at 4645 SE 15th Ave.