Cape Police Department holds 6th Annual Holiday Heroes Food Drive
The Cape Coral Police Department spent several hours Tuesday collecting donations for those in need in preparation for the upcoming holidays.
The 6th Annual Holiday Heroes Food Drive took place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Walmart Supercenter, at 1619 Del Prado Blvd. Members of the SWAT team set up tables and accepted non-perishable food items and cash donations to pass along to the local Harry Chapin Food Bank.
“We’ve been doing this for the last several years or so,” Detective Jason Behun, who spearheaded this year’s donation drive, said. “We do it to help contribute to the food bank, so people can eat.”
Asked about the goal for the event, he did not have a set amount.
“We come out for the day and try to get as much as we can,” Behun said.
However, he called the response from the public “very positive.”
“I think we’re about where we were at last year,” he said about five hours into the drive.
A couple of men donated $100 bills toward the effort.
“So that’s pretty generous,” Behun said.
Last year, the CCPD collected over 9 tons of food and about $2,882 in cash.
“There’s always people in need,” he said. “So if you have it, it doesn’t hurt to give a little.”
Cape residents Eric and Sharon Downing stopped to donate.
“There’s always somebody who’s downtrodden, somebody who’s always worse off,” Eric Downing said. “They need the help.”
The couple noted that they prefer to donate to local organizations.
“It’ll stay close,” he said of the donations going to benefit their community.
Cape resident Randi Pryor also contributed toward the effort.
“There are a lot of families in need who need the help,” she said of why she donated.
Pryor explained that she tries to donate to charitable causes when she can.
“I only had change today, but I gave what I could,” she said.
For Officer Andrew Gallo, it was his third time volunteering to take part in the event.
“Anything I can do to help out during the holidays,” he said. “Nobody should not have a hot meal on Thanksgiving.”
Gallo added that people liked that 100 percent of the donations were going to the food bank.
Asked about any unique contributions, one immediately came to mind.
“We had two gingerbread houses donated,” Gallo said.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank, an affiliate of Feeding America, is a hunger-relief organization in Southwest Florida.
It solicits, collects and stores food for distribution to families and others in need through a network of over 150 nonprofit agencies in Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Glades and Hendry.
“While most people are in celebration of the holidays, we routinely come into contact with people who are not celebrating,” Capt. Michael Torregrossa said, explaining that the drive enables the department and public to give back to the local community. “And we are all about that. We are 100 percent in.”
For more information on the Harry Chapin Food Bank, visit harrychapinfoodbank.org.