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Lee County Starts Food Drive As Seasonal Residents Head Back North

Lee County Solid Waste

When seasonal residents of Southwest Florida start getting ready to head back up north, they may leave behind non-perishable food items, which could spoil and have to be thrown away.

That’s why Lee County has come up with an initiative to not let that food go to waste.

It’s called “Donated Not Wasted”.  Before leaving the region, people can drop off canned food and other non-perishable items at any Lee County library or recreation center.

The food will go to the Harry Chapin Food Bank and from there it’s distributed to food pantries throughout the county.

Molly Schweers is with Lee County Solid Waste. She said that there’s a concentration of seasonal residents in the northern and southern parts of the county.

“In the communities of Estero and Bonita Springs and then North Fort Myers—all of those areas have communities that half to even high as 70 percent of the people are only there a few months a year,” she said.

In 2016, Schweers said Lee County had about 70,000 tons of food waste. She said snowbirds donating their nonperishable food is one way to alleviate that number while keeping local food pantries well-stocked.

The “Donated Not Wasted” initiative ends the day after Easter- on April 2.

For more info, you can visit leegov.com/solidwaste

Quincy Walters is a reporter and backup host for WGCU.