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Serving Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties

COMING UP! September is Time To Stuff the Bus September 13: Stuff the Bus Collier County, in partnership with CAT/Collier Area Transit, Publix (6 locations) and United Way September 20: Fill Our Fleet Lee County, in partnership with LeeTran and Publix (all 34 locations) These are one-day food drives, and volunteers are needed; call Tanya Phillips at (239) 334-7007 x141.

Letter Carriers Food Drive Nets 401,478 Pounds! The 23rd annual Letter Carriers Food Drive to “Stamp Out Hunger” became the largest one-day food drive ever for the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Lee County residents donated 401,478 pounds of food with the help of 250 volunteers. As the lead recipient, the Food Bank will distribute 252,875 pounds of food to its partner agencies. Special thanks go to the U.S. Postal Service, the United Way and Publix Super Markets. See page 5 for more photos!

Summer 2015 / Vol. VX, No. 3

New Senior Hunger Program Tackles a Huge Hidden Problem Nearly one in six senior citizens — 9.6 million people — struggles with hunger in the United States. They face difficult compromises: “Do I pay for medication or rent?” or “Do I buy what’s cheap but not nutritional for my health?” Here in Southwest Florida, especially since the Great Recession, many seniors find themselves isolated and vulnerable, even within gated communities, and unaware of resources that can help them. However, a new program to distribute food to low-income residents ages 60 and older in Collier and Lee counties will soon make a difference. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is the only food bank in the state of Florida to launch the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. It is in the process of enrolling 2,400 individuals to receive a box of food each month until they no longer need the assistance. The food, which is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, includes canned fruits and vegetables, juice, dry beans, rice, peanut butter and cereal. “This is the first time Florida applied to participate in this USDA program,” said Robin Safley, director, division of food nutrition and wellness, with the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer

Volunteers at the Food Bank box up packages slated for the new senior hunger program.

Services. Collier received state funding approval first, then Lee was added, because these were communities with high need and a high population of seniors in poverty, explained Christie Meresse, bureau chief of food distribution at the state agency, which orders food for the program. Nutrition education and outreach materials — including recipes and health tips — go with the food package. “Coming out of the box with a new program, we wanted to make sure it was very successful,” said Safley. “The Harry Chapin Food Bank has been a phenomenal partner, and we rely on them to understand the needs of the community.” (More about Senior Hunger on page 3)

Fresh Food Welcome in Hard Times Yecenia Hernandez walks every month to the Harry Chapin Food Bank mobile food pantry at Golden Gate Elementary. The mother of Davis, 5, and 10-month-old Austin is currently unemployed, and her husband works full-time in construction. “My husband’s job depends on the weather,” she explained. “If it rains a lot, he doesn’t get much work.” During these hard times, mobile pantries “are a great help, especially when we don’t have much money to buy healthy

Juana Cruz Roja and her family receive fresh produce at the mobile pantry.

food.” Here, she received a variety of food items, including fresh corn on the cob, squash and zucchini. Juana Cruz Roja also walked to the mobile pantry. She placed fresh produce and frozen meat onto the back of her old bike. “It’s been hard to find work,” said the single mother. At times, the family has gone hungry for two or three days. “Without this help, we would really struggle. It would probably be worse without the Food Bank.”

Feeding America Honors Brislain With Award Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief organization, honored Al Brislain, CEO and president of the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, with the 2015 John van Hengel Fellowship. The annual award, named for the pioneer of food banks, recognizes an executive director or CEO of a member food bank for excellence in leadership, local impact, national influence, commitment and entrepreneurial spirit in the area of hunger relief.

FORT MYERS: 3760 Fowler St., Fort Myers, Florida 33901 NAPLES: 2221 Corporation Blvd. Naples, Florida 34109 Phone: (239) 334-7007

Board of Directors

(Photo left) Al Brislain (center) is flanked by Feeding America CEO Bob Aiken and Natasha Thompson, president and CEO of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier in Elmira, N.Y.

Chairperson NOELLE MELANSON Attorney, Melanson Law Vice Chairperson RAYMOND (RAY) PAVELKA Mariner Properties Development Treasurer CRAIG FOLK Miller, Helms and Folk, P.A. Members at Large JOHN D. BELISLE BB&T-Oswald Trippe & Co. WILLIAM M. DILLON Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney and Fowler White Boggs DAVID FRY Dwell Florida JAN-ERIK HUSTRULID Owen-Ames-Kimball Company MAURA MATZKO KENNETH O’DONNELL BIANCA ROSS U.S. Sugar ANNE ROSE Lee Memorial Health System P. KEITH SCOGGINS, Jr. Farm Credit System BRIAN SCHWARTZ, M.D. 21st Century Oncology, and Florida Urology Physicians Emeritus Board JOHN B. McCLAY (deceased) JOHN POELKER (Emeritus chair)

With Our Gratitude... The Harry Chapin Food Bank thanks departing board members Rabbi Jeremy Barras of Temple Beth El, Derek Jones of Wells Fargo & Company, and Kristina Rodriguez for their service to the Food Bank.

Hitzeman New Director Of Operations A native of Chicago, Eric Hitzeman joins the Harry Chapin Food Bank from Tucson, Ariz., where he served for 22 years in various roles at the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona. Welcome!

GRANTS AND DONATIONS • Community Foundation of Collier County: $15,000

• Naples United Church of Christ: $10,000

• Copperleaf Charitable Fund: $6,000

• Panera Bread Foundation: $5,567.41

• Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: $2,700

• Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair Association: $7,858.75

• Kiwanis Club of Fort Myers Metro-McGregor: $2,048.91

• Target: $2,808.30

• The League Club, Inc.: $10,000

• Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church: $2,840

• Mosaic Company: $7,500

Our Mission Al Brislain President and CEO Miriam Pereira Development Joyce Jacobs Communications Marta Hodson Special Events Tanya Phillips Volunteers

Maxine Golding Newsletter Editor


To overcome hunger in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee counties through education and by working in a cooperative effort with affiliated agencies in the procurement and distribution of food, equitably and without discrimination.


A member of Partner Agency

Look for us on:

A copy of the Food Bank’s official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the state. For more information, contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs at 1-800-435-7352 or visit

Donate easily and securely at

Summer Mobile Pantries Vital For Children’s Health and Growth

Summer is no vacation for many children Its community giving program focuses on who stop receiving school breakfasts and health, hunger and everyday heroes, said lunches when school is out. That’s where spokesperson Colleen Labik. Through its the Harry Chapin Food Bank’s mobile “Lending a Helping Hoagie” program, pantries pick up the slack. Wawa introduced itself This year, thanks to fito Southwest Florida as nancial support from Wawa it gave back to the Food ($20,000) and The League Bank and targeted mobile Club ($10,000), and a pantries for its donation. United Way partnership, This summer, the United mobile pantries are fanning Way program includes out across the Food Bank’s nine mobile pantries, with five-county service area. partners like The SalvaWawa, with 23,000 tion Army and Goodwill associates in 690 conveproviding health and job nience stores in six states, Mobile pantries distribute many services. And more mobile is a new Food Bank partner. pounds of fresh produce. pantries are being planned.

Corporate Groups Agree: It’s Fun, Easy and Gratifying to Volunteer When corporate groups volunteer at the Harry Chapin Food Bank warehouse, three words echo again and again. Volunteering here is fun. It’s so easy to do. And it’s deeply gratifying to help others in need. “Families should not have to choose between paying for food and other basic human services,” said Gerri Moll, Bank of America president, Lee and Collier counties. “Fighting hunger is a key step towards providing economic stability, a key priority at Bank of America. We support hunger nationally through Feeding America and the Give A Meal program, as well as direct support of local food banks. Through volunteerism, our employees can express their passion for community support, and it’s a great way to get to know our partners and each other.”   When Comcast asked its employees how they want to support the community this year, “the Food Bank was one of the most popular ideas,” said Justin Damiano, manager of local community, government and regulatory affairs. Nearly 300 local employees volunteered on Comcast Cares Day in April, and the Food Bank will receive a grant from their efforts. “It’s about developing local relationships, raising money for a really great organization and giving back to the community,” he said.

Other groups to thank: McKim & Creed; Busey Bank; Target; Lee County Association of Women Lawyers; North Face; Charles Schwab; and Chico’s FAS. Become a corporate supporter! Call (239) 334-7007

GuideStar Exchange ‘Gold’ Rating The Harry Chapin Food Bank has earned the GuideStar Exchange Gold participation level, demonstrating its commitment to transparency as a nonprofit and to sharing information with supporters. Learn more at

Senior Hunger on Rise Issued in April 2015, The State of Senior Hunger in America 2013 report paints a gloomy picture for those who face hunger: • 9.6 million seniors. • Those living in the South and Southwest, are racial or ethnic minorities, have lower incomes, and are ages 60-69. • The majority of seniors facing hunger have incomes above the poverty line and are white.

Comcast volunteers “power dreams” at the Food Bank, as they give back to the community.

Bank of America volunteers at the Food Bank (at right) proudly display a check for $89,080.


Capital Campaign Pushes Forward The Harry Chapin Food Bank’s Fighting Hunger, Feeding Hope Capital Campaign is accelerating after its kick-off in February at the Fort Myers and Naples warehouses. Now at 60 percent of its $5.1 million goal, the campaign will save the Food Bank more than $15,000 every month, and enable us to distribute more than $1 million worth of additional food per year to your neighbors in need.

In 2014 alone, the Food Bank distributed 19.6 million pounds of food to 30,000 children, adults and seniors monthly. And that’s barely half of the actual need in Southwest Florida. Help us reach our goal by making a direct donation to the Capital Campaign at its web page:

Minnesota Twins Ball Club Continues ‘Great’ Partnership With Food Bank The Harry Chapin Food Bank was the Minnesota Twins’ Charity of Choice for two weekends and an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony in February at Hammond Stadium at the newly renovated CenturyLink Sports Complex. The Food Bank and the Twins have been “great partners over time,” said Mark Weber, manager of Florida business operations for the ball club. People attended for free, and were asked to bring a non-perishable food donation for the Food Bank. In addition, the Food Bank received a grant of $5,000 from the Twins Community Fund.

Walmart’s Spring Campaign Against Hunger Goes ‘Social’ With each public post to social media sites — Facebook, Twitter and Instagram — Walmart’s 2015 campaign to Fight Hunger Spark Change gave $10 to the Feeding America network. The Harry Chapin Food Bank will receive an allocation from the donation.

More Fundraisers... CenturyLink held its Backpack Buddies Food Drive from June 1 to 12 in hundreds of company locations across the country. The CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation is matching donations made through this drive at $1 per pound of food up to 1 million pounds nationwide! This year’s Punta Gorda Pub Crawl, organized by Mike Colgan and Nick Berry, started at the Ice House Pub, with stops at Celtic Ray, Downtown Gatorz, Deans, The Tiki at Four Points, Hurricane Charley’s, Shorty’s and Two Brothers. The event collected $2,065 and 4,435 pounds of food.

(Right) AmeriCorps volunteers Tyler Sievert and Mary Castro display information about the Food Bank at the Minnesota Twins’ open house.

Local Corvette Club Revs Up Donations The 85 members of the Southwest Florida Corvette Club are a mighty bunch when it comes to fundraising. The members approve and vote on all their charitable activities, and the Harry Chapin Food Bank has been a mainstay for years for the nearly 25-year-old club. “All our members have been very positive about donating to the Food Bank,” said Darren McCarthy, club president. Members also volunteer at the Food Bank and help out at mobile pantry distributions. The Food Bank received $3,366 in contributions from the club in 2012; $2,000 in 2013; $7,585 in 2014; and $2,000 so far in 2015. The total since 2008: a whopping $23,922.25.


On October 24, the Corvette Club will be hosting a car show at Victory Layne Chevrolet in Fort Myers and placing donation jars to raise more money for the Food Bank!

Fast-casual restaurant PDQ hosted Charity Night on June 4, along with a food drive in two Lee County locations from June 4 to July 2, all to benefit the Food Bank.

Did You Know...? In fiscal year 2013-14, the Food Bank’s warehouse crew distributed: • 73,622 pounds a day. • 359,615 pounds a week. • 1,588,333 pounds a month. They do an amazing job! How can your group help? Call Tanya Phillips at (239) 334-7007, x141.


Photo Gallery: Hundreds of Volunteers Work Hard at the Letter Carriers Food Drive

It took a village to pick up and sort food! Find more photos at

Hunger Summit: Putting Knowledge to Work “People say we can’t end hunger, and that’s true. But we can make a big dent.” That’s how Al Brislain, president and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank, opened the 6th annual Hunger Summit. More than 100 professionals from partner agencies took part in the day of

intensive education and information exchange, aimed at improving food resources within the Southwest Florida community. The opening panel discussion, which focused on best practices in designing and building healthy communities, was followed by a series of breakout sessions into the afternoon.

(Above l-r) Kari Lefort, Food Bank director of programs; Lauren Couchois, School District of Lee County; Bob Johns, Lee Community Healthcare; Shari Clark, Pine Manor Improvement Association. (Left) Afternoon breakout session.


Remember the Harry Chapin Food Bank in your estate planning.

Edgewater Church Pantry Helps People Through Their Struggles From a small food pantry that began in 1995, Edgewater United Methodist Church has grown progressively to match the community need. And the Harry Chapin Food Bank has been its supporting partner since 2007. From serving about 20 people a month eight years ago, the Edgewater Church

With high numbers to feed, the Edgewater United Methodist Church food pantry opens three Fridays and one Saturday each month.

pantry now averages 649 adults, 233 seniors and 310 children per month. With such high numbers to feed, the pantry opens three Fridays and one Saturday each month. One Friday distribution takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. to help young families working low-paying jobs. The Food Bank provides about 1,500 pounds of food and meat per week. “We try to set it up like a farmer’s market,” explained Linda Norris, who is co-ministry leader with her husband, John; the two have been working in the pantry for three years. “Potatoes in one area, vegetables in another, packaged salads, dairy, bread and dessert in different sections.” They order food weekly from the Food Bank website. The Food Bank delivers the first and third weeks of the month, while pantry volunteers pick up food from the warehouse on the second and fourth weeks (and a fifth, if necessary). “It sometimes overwhelms volunteers to hear the stories and hardships our clients face. Some of the people we come

A Gift in Your Will For the Food Bank In recent years, donors have expressed their intention to include a gift to the Harry Chapin Food Bank in their wills. These gifts provide an estate tax deduction and have a tremendous impact on our work towards a hungerfree Southwest Florida. If you would like information on how to include the Harry Chapin Food Bank in your will or estate plan, please contact Kelli King at (239) 334-7007 x202. across have lost jobs,” Linda Norris said. “They are in a state of shock about how they will care for their family. And senior citizens are struggling to make ends meet or have extra mouths to feed because they are raising grandchildren. They’re grateful for the food pantry, and we are grateful to the Food Bank for helping those in need in Charlotte County.”

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The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida 3760 Fowler Street Fort Myers, Florida 33901

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HCFB Summer 2015 Newsletter  
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