At least, that is, at the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s Collier County warehouse.
We have recently installed a new industrial-sized freezer in our Naples warehouse located at 2221 Corporation Blvd. This addition will allow the Harry Chapin Food Bank to store and distribute a larger quantity and higher quality of food. Items such as poultry, beef, pork and other frozen goods will now be readily available to our more than 25 partner agencies in Collier County.
Hunger continues to be an issue across the nation. In Collier County alone, 13.3% of residents don’t know where their next meal will come from, according to Feeding America’s latest “Map the Meal Gap” study. The addition of the freezer could not come at a better time! As the snowbirds leave for the summer, the need for food will increase due to a reduction in seasonal jobs and school children out for summer break. According to the Collier County Public Schools website, more than 63% of the Collier County student population is categorized as “economically needy” and qualify for free or reduced lunch; that’s 28,236 students out of 44,939 who attend local schools.
Since the beginning of 2014, our Collier County partner agencies have picked up approximately 100,000 pounds of food from the Naples warehouse for distribution. Last year, 2.6 million pounds of food were distributed in Collier County. That equates to approximately 2.2 million meals with a value of $4.4 million. With the Collier County warehouse up and running and the addition of the freezer, HCFB can offer more of a selection of items, including fresh produce, thus, allowing for distribution of more healthy and nutritious foods in Collier County.
Additionally, the new freezer will allow us the opportunity to take frozen turkey donations for storage and distribution to our neighbors in need for the holidays. In the past, we have had to distribute turkeys through our mobile food pantries, which limited the number of birds we could provide because of the truck’s size. We ask you to please remember, it’s never too early to be thinking about the holidays and helping those less fortunate. If you would like to donate a turkey or host a turkey fundraising drive, please contact Katie Schweikhardt at (239) 334-7007 ext. 200.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank Collier County warehouse is open for partner agencies to pick up food items Tuesdays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The office is open Monday through Friday for anyone wishing to drop off food items or household supplies or wanting to tour the facility. Please contact Kelli King at (239) 334-7007 ext. 202 to make an appointment.