FORT MYERS, Fla — Help is out there. You don't have to go through the economic fallout of the pandemic alone.
This is the fourth in a week-long series of stories called the "Make Ends Meet Checklist." We're going to give you the tools to best face a difficult situation. We'll tell you how to confront and prioritize your bills, how to ask for deferrals, and in this story, show you where to turn to for help. We'll also introduce you to people in the same situation and show you how these tools helped them.
The most immediate need for many families right now is food.
Several local organizations can help out. Let's start with the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Just last week they say they gave out more than 740,000 pounds of food. That's about 620,00 meals.
To find help, go to the 'Food Locator' page on their website. From here, you can type in your zip code and find the closest food pantry that they or another partner organization has organized. You can also find food pantry dates and locations on their Facebook page.
The Community Cooperative also runs several mobile food pantries a week.
Click here for information on Meals on Wheels.
And click here for information about their Community Cafes and markets.
The food assistance program, SNAP, is another option. Click here to see if you're eligible.
The Salvation Army has food pantries, as well. Information about services statewide is here.
The Salvation Army of Lee, Hendry, and Glades Counties says it's provided more than 4,000 nights of shelter and emotional and spiritual care for more than 1,500 people since the pandemic began.
You may also want to check out the Southwest Florida Resource Link. Here you can choose from a variety of services, from housing to financial assistance to mental health resources, by county.