Thanksgiving is less than one month away! Celebrating the holidays is difficult when you have limited or no resources to make them special. Now through November 20, you can help thousands of Southwest Florida families and children have a traditional meal by supporting the Harry Chapin Food Bank (HCFB). Carolyn Jones, Partner Relations Manager and a holiday bird distribution lead, helps us with some frequently asked questions:
HCFB: What does Thanksgiving mean for the Programs staff at the Food Bank?
CJ: The programs staff’s deepest passion is to make sure families have enough food to eat, not just during the holiday season, but all year around. Thanksgiving is a special time for families get together to give thanks for the goodness in their lives while enjoying a traditional meal. Imagine not having food to eat or a meal to put on the table to share with your family. Sadly, this is a reality for many Southwest Florida families. Currently, the Food Bank provides food to 12,000 children, 8,000 seniors and 10,000 adults per month within its service area: Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. This Thanksgiving, the programs department is working closely with partner agencies to ensure those struggling families will be able to enjoy a traditional meal on the table.
HCFB: How many holiday birds are Food Bank partner agencies requesting?
CJ: We are hoping to receive 10,000 birds, but there is no limit to the number that can be donated. We are expecting to see an increase in the number of people accessing emergency feeding programs. The cuts in federal funding and low-wage jobs have forced families to make hard choices, such as pay the electric bill or buy food. Food is always the last on a struggling family’s to-do list.
Image courtesy of Feeding America
HCFB: How will HCFB meet this year's need?
CJ: Since the cut in SNAP funding (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps), families are receiving fewer monthly benefits. For a family of four, benefits have been lowered by $36 per month. This has forced many to access emergency feeding programs to help supplement their monthly budget. To ensure holiday birds get into the hands of every family who needs one, the Food Bank has asked partner agencies to register families in need of a bird. This process also eliminates duplication. The Food Bank strives to meet the need of each family who registers.
HCFB: How are the birds distributed to those in need?
CJ: Partner agencies will allow registered families to pick-up from their site.
HCFB: Why will it cost the Food Bank $14 to purchase a holiday bird?
CJ: Since the Food Bank buys in bulk, we have to pay the same cost as the stores. The $14 amount will allow us to purchase and distribute each holiday bird to our nonprofit partner agency network.
HCFB: What is the “goal" this year?
CJ: The goal this year is the same as every year: Make sure families in Southwest Florida have a holiday dinner to put on the table.
HCFB: What if someone wants to give more than a monetary or bird donation? How else can they give?
CJ: They can give the gift of time. Food Bank volunteers are needed to help us sort through donated items, such as canned cranberry sauce and bread, as well as bulk produce. For more on our holiday bird distribution or partner agency network, please contact Carolyn Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 239-334-7007 ext. 129.
Please drop off your frozen birds now through Friday, November 20.
Frozen Bird Drop off location:
|Fort Myers warehouse||Naples warehouse|
|8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.||7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon.-Fri.|
|3760 Fowler St.||2221 Corporation Blvd.|
|Fort Myers, FL, 33901||Naples, FL, 34109
Financial donations can also be mailed to either location. For more information or to donate online, call 239-334-7007 or visit www.harrychapinfoodbank.org/donate.