Cape police help out with 3H Exchange
A Cape Coral charity, with the help of the Cape Coral Police Department, is trying to make a difference for children in need by collecting new and unwrapped toys and non-perishable food.
The drive is under way until Dec. 15.
Erik Decker, founder of the 3H Exchange, said he’s happy the CCPD has been a partner for each drive they have had, serving as a collection center from the beginning.
“I was looking for a place to take donations. I knew they had their own community outreach goals. I reached out to them and asked if I could put donation bins there,” Decker said. “We set it up and it’s continued since.”
The 3H Exchange stands for High Schools Helping the Homeless. It was founded in 2014 by Decker and Brooke Garrison when they were students at Ida Baker High School to help students in the Lee County School District who are homeless or otherwise in need.
It started by getting shoes and backpacks to middle schoolers and evolved from there into an on-going charity helping families throughout the year.
What makes 3H different is that all donations are personally delivered to individuals, instead of going to a shelter or food bank.
Bins are set up at the CCPD on Cultural Park Boulevard and the Chester Street Resource Center downtown.
Decker collects all items and takes them to the school district where social workers and guidance counselors distribute them to students.
All donations stay local and go to help children in the community.
Decker said there is no specific goal because until every student has their needs met, he will continue the program.
“The goal is to help as many families as we can. The fact is there are a lot of people who need help,” Decker said.
Decker said he expects to help more than 500 of the nearly 600 students who really need help. After Hurricane Irma hit in September, it appeared about 1,000 were going to need help, but the actual number is lower.
Decker said if everyone does a little to help, it will really add up.
“We get requests for peanut butter and soup and things that are filling,” Decker said. “If it’s just a couple of canned goods that someone can donate or a couple new toys, it helps.”