Full Plate Project in need of 2,500 turkeys
This year’s Community Cooperative’s Full Plate Project has a goal to collect 2,500 turkeys for the more than 120,000 people in Lee County at risk of being hungry this holiday season.
Community Cooperative Director of Development & Community Outreach Stefanie Edwards said the Full Plates campaign started about four years ago. She said the cooperative’s effort is to help families, individuals and seniors in need that are hungry, or homeless.
“During the holidays it is a little more difficult for folks going through struggles. We don’t want any empty plates in our community,” Edwards said, adding that they have to work together so nobody goes hungry this time of the year. “We have a very generous community here in Southwest Florida.”
Every year Community Cooperative sets a goal and are lucky enough to meet it.
“Our goal every year seems to pick up. The hard part is our target keeps on moving. The need of our community keeps growing,” Edwards said.
She said although the economy is getting better, seniors live on a fixed incomes and the cost of living keeps increasing.
“This year our goal is 2,500 turkeys that we need to be donated,” Edwards said, which can either be frozen turkeys or financial contributions to buy turkeys on behalf of the clients.
Although the cutoff for the donations is 4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 22, she said she tells all of her donors that they can bring her a turkey on Dec. 1 because people will still be in need.
“Come and volunteer. That’s the other part of the work that we do,” Edwards said because the turkeys have to be distributed to eight mobile food pantries that they help. “If now is not a good time to get involved. Come and volunteer in February.”
The donations can be dropped off at Community Cooperative, 3429 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fort Myers.
There are many ways someone can contribute to the Full Plates Project. The first is donating a “Family Thanksgiving Basket,” which includes a 10 to 15-pound turkey; canned corn; dessert mix such as brownies or cake; boxed mashed potatoes; canned fruit; disposable turkey roasting pans; stuffing mix; boxed cornbread/muffin mix; canned yams; green beans; and a can/jar of gravy.
Another way is donating multiple items, in bulk packages, not bulk size, so Community Cooperative can make Thanksgiving baskets. Those items include multiple turkeys; a case of 13.75 oz. boxed mashed potatoes; a case of 14.5 oz. cans green beans; multiple disposable turkey roasting pans; multiple cans of fruits and vegetables; multiple boxes of stuffing mix; multiple boxed cornbread/muffin mix and multiple cans/jars of gravy.
Individuals can also donate $50 to Community Cooperative to sponsor a family Thanksgiving basket.
Another idea is to host a Full Plates Food Drive as a business, or community.
For more, contact Development & Events Coordinator Jazzy Proctor at 239-32-7687, extension 101, or email Thanks-giving@CommunityCooperative.com.