Too many of our neighbors are hungry. The economic impact of Covid-19 has caused hardship for many working families. Our organizations and many others are waging an unprecedented effort to feed hungry families in Collier County. We need your help.
We are in a hunger crisis. Unfortunately, we do not believe it will end soon. Many workers had their work and pay cut short in mid-March, continued federal assistance remains uncertain, and no one knows if jobs will return this fall. Parents worry about being able to feed their children. Summer food programs are ending and virtual learning may make it difficult for those relying on school lunch programs to get their daily meals.
The need is great; the response from our community has been amazing:
• St. Matthew’s House has increased food assistance to families from 40-60 families per week to 2,500 families a week.
• Meals of Hope has expanded its food pantry operations and recently opened its twelfth mobile pantry location.
• The Harry Chapin Food Bank has more than doubled its food distributions to St. Matthew’s, Meals of Hope and others. To support this, they are purchasing over $1 million of food each month.
None of this would be possible without the widespread support of our community. This has come from many quarters: Greater Naples Leadership (GNL) recently convened a meeting with us to educate their members about the magnitude of the problem and the various ways you can get involved. You can view that discussion using this link: GNL Combating Hunger Webinar. For 25 years GNL’s members, now over 500 strong, commit to volunteer for nonprofit and civic service to benefit our community. We are grateful for their support.
Even with all this work, many families and children in Collier County remain hungry. There is much more everyone can do. We need volunteers to sort food, pack boxes, and distribute food at food pantries. There is plenty of work to be done, and something to suit every schedule and physical ability. The work is fulfilling, fun, and safe. It is easy to see volunteer opportunities and sign up at any of our websites or at the GNL link mentioned above.
If you can’t volunteer, then please help provide food. You can donate to support an organization that serves your community. You can organize a food drive. You can even conduct a food drive without leaving home, using Harry Chapin’s “virtual food drive” program. Our organizations are efficient and cost-conscious; your donation of food or money will go far.