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IT'S A WIN-WIN: Pelican Bay snowbirds give back before heading north

As Pelican Bay's Community Correspondent Bella Line reported on Fox 4, spring cleaning is underway for many, and one community is using it as an opportunity to give back.
Pelican Bay Food Drive March 2024 Pic of Julie Wade in her fridge
A WIN, WIN: Pelican Bay snowbirds give back before heading north
Posted at 10:57 PM, Mar 25, 2024

PELICAN BAY, Fla. — As spring cleaning begins for many people, some people in Pelican Bay are using it as an opportunity to give back.

"We timed it for late March so that it can also coincide with unloading the pantry items," said Julie Wade, who lives in Pelican Bay.

If you are a snowbird and you are getting ready to "fly" north, Julie Wade wants you to think of her, when it comes to cleaning your cupboards.

"My partner and I are both members of greater Naples leadership and when we were all on lockdown, they said look around your neighborhoods, we'd like to address hunger," said Wade. "I said 'Barbara, Pelican Bay is pretty big, but what do you think?' So we approached it one on one and there were over 80 HOAs within Pelican Bay."

For the last four years now, Julie and her friend Barbara have collected non-perishable foods for St Matthew's House.

"The prices have skyrocketed so people have to make decisions, do I pay my rent or put food on the table?" stated Wade.

This year, they are doing even more, by donating perishable foods to St. Matthew's House. Beating their record with just under 40,000 pounds of dry food and nearly 180 pounds of refrigerated food.

"We continue to have a lot of food insecurity in our community and having organizations and communities like Pelican Bay contribute and keep us going for a couple of months with this volume of food is so helpful," said Steve Brooder, CEO of St. Matthew's House. "As some of our northern friends are getting ready to head back. They can empty their pantries and empty their cupboards and really make an impact."

Although this year's drive is already over, St. Matthew's House still encourages people to donate at any of their sites year-round. They say their biggest need right now is for Spam and peanut butter.