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We get a post-Ian update from the Harry Chapin Food Bank of SWFL, and learn about the special challenges they face during the summer months

Photo: Harry Chapin Food Bank via Facebook.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida in Fort Myers is the largest hunger-relief network in Southwest Florida, serving Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties. It distributes purchased and donated food, and other grocery products, to about 170 partner agencies and programs that provide direct services to those in need, like food pantries, mobile pantries, and senior programs.

Before the pandemic, they were spending almost $40,000 dollars a month to buy food. That jumped to $1.4 million a month during the first year of the pandemic, and has remained high ever since. According to their president & CEO, Richard LeBer, they’re currently having to spend almost a million dollars a month to provide food to those in need.

Add the challenges and increased need brought about by Hurricane Ian, and the coming summer months when kids are out of school and seasonal workers have less income, and it’s easy to see how hard the staff and volunteers at the Harry Chapin Food Bank must be working to continue meeting the demand for food across this region. Click here to learn about summer food aid options.

We check in with Richard LeBer to get an update on their operations, the challenges they face, and learn about ways to help them in their mission.

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