The Harry Chapin Food Bank of SWFL expands in Collier County
The food bank joins Meals of Hope in Naples
The Harry Chapin Food Bank teams up with Meals of Hope and opens a distribution center. Video by fox4now.comvideo
NAPLES- The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida opened up a warehouse in Collier County on Tuesday morning. The food bank joined efforts with Meals of Hope.
Stephen Popper is the executive director of Meals of Hope. He started the non-profit 5 years ago. Since its start in 2007, the non-profit has packaged more than 15 million meals.
"Meals of Hope goes all over the country. Our cost per meal is 20 cents a meal. We buy truck loads of pasta from North Dakota or El Paso, Texas even South Carolina."
Meals of Hope is fighting hunger now with the help of the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida. The two just opened up a warehouse together. This will be the second location in our area for the food bank. The other Harry Chapin warehouse is in Fort Myers.
"Both the Harry Chapin Food Bank and Meals of Hope are really working to put down roots right here in Collier County," said Popper.
The demand for assistance continues to climb. For example, from 2007-2008, the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida gave out 4 million pounds of food in the five counties it serves (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee). The number has more than tripled. In 2011 to 2012, the food bank gave out 15 million pounds of food.
"We also serve seniors. We are seeing a large rise in senior hunger, expecting it to grow as baby boomers start aging," said Katie Schweikhardt, Collier County Food Coordinator for the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.
The food from the warehouse will go to partner agencies like the St. Matthew's House and St. Vincent DePaul.
To locate a food pantry near you dial 211 or contact Lee County United Way 211 or Collier County United Way 211 online. The Harry Chapin Food Bank can be reached at (239) 334-7007.