What We Aim To Solve
Harry Chapin Food Bank serves children, families, seniors, and veterans of Southwest Florida who are hungry or food-insecure. Children who are food-insecure do not have the energy to focus, engage, learn, and grow. Poor nutrition also has a long-term negative effect on a childs physical and mental health, academic achievement, and future economic productivity. Families that are food-insecure not only struggle to put food on the table, they often struggle to pay for rent, utilities, and childcare, among other bills. Food pantries, once considered a resource for temporary emergency food assistance, are now part of many households’ regular coping strategies. Seniors who are food-insecure live on a fixed income, struggle with health issues that can drain their resources, lack transportation, and are socially isolated. They often have nutritional deficiencies which exacerbate their medical issues. The stigma associated with asking for help further compounds the problem.
Why Harry Chapin Food Bank’s Oldest Volunteer Is Moving On
Maurice Bonecutter wont be back for his usual volunteer shifts this week at the Harry Chapin Food Bank, but he leaves behind a legacy of goodwill and giving.
At 93, the food banks oldest volunteer is moving on.
Hes volunteered at the food bank since 2011, first as a snowbird, then as a permanent resident. Over the years he could be spotted at the food banks Fort Myers Distribution Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays, sorting canned goods, frozen meat, fresh produce, anything that needed doing.
He is a dynamo, said Linda Mitchell one of his fellow volunteers. He is the hardest worker. He can work circles around us.
Now one of his daughters is here to help him pack up and move to greener pastures but not out to pasture. Bonecutter is moving from North Fort Myers to Midland, in western Texas, to be closer to family. Hes looking forward to having his own apartment in an active retirement community.
Bonecutter spent his last volunteer shift Thursday helping sort a variety of bread and other baked goods donated by retailers. His fellow volunteers celebrated his last day with an impromptu pizza party.
He is an inspiration to all of us, said Richard LeBer, food bank president and CEO. His example shows that anyone, at any age, can contribute to the fight against hunger, if the desire is there.
How Does It Work
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Volunteers Help Run The Harry Chapin Food Bank
There are two things that keep the Harry Chapin Food Bank running smoothly: cash and its volunteers.
At least thats what volunteer Fritz Gloege says.
All of the volunteers like Gloege help sort and stack the food that will be provided to those in need in the community.
Drivers like Ken Johnson help to deliver it.
A lady came through late, Johnson said. The other driver brought her over a bouquet of flowers. And while Im taking down her information I looked up and she had tears coming down both sides of her face. She said, You have no idea how much I needed this today.’
Everybody can make a difference, Gloege said.
The difference the volunteers make adds up to $2.2 million in donated services to the food bank in 2021.
That allows the Harry Chapin Food Bank to spend 96 cents of every donated dollar on buying food.
Fritz said he recently spoke to a man who used to donate money but now he donates his time,
Individually and together, the volunteers make an impact in the vast warehouse of carefully cataloged and stored generosity.
It really makes me feel good about my job, said one volunteer.
WINK News is urging the community to donate what they can to the Harry Chapin Food Bank on their annual March to a Million Meals.
Long Island Cares Is Long Islands First Food Bank
Founded in 1980 by singer-songwriter and activist, Harry Chapin, our organization is dedicated to serving Long Islands hungry and food insecure populations.
Long Island Cares is one of almost 200 food banks across America that provides food to people impacted by hunger and food insecurity. When founded, Long Island Cares served a mere handful of agencies in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, but today, it distributes more than ten million pounds of food and supplies annually to nearly 400 member agencies in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and operates 5 satellite offices, plus our main office and warehouse in Hauppauge.
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Volunteers Power The Harry Chapin Food Bank
Volunteers make it possible for the food bank to feed a quarter of a million people a month in Southwest Florida.
Volunteers sort and pack donations of food at our Fort Myers and Naples distribution centers, distribute food at mobile pantries and collect donations at food drives, to mention just a few ways they make the food banks mission possible.
To find out if your volunteer hours can be matched by your company, please contact us at or call 334-7007. If you are in need of community service hours and would like to apply as a court-mandated volunteer, .
Please note: All volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes. Weekday opportunities at Harry Chapin Food Bank warehouses have a minimum age requirement of 16. Saturday volunteering at HCFB locations have a minimum age requirement of 14, and 14-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult.
Harry Chapin Food Bank Had An Emergency Food Giveaway On Monday
An emergency food giveaway for the community was at the Stars Complex in Fort Myers on Monday.
Harry Chapin Food Bank is part of the Feeding America network, thats getting more food to Southwest Florida.
Feeding America CEO, Claire Babineaux Fontenot said she knows the need will still be there and as long as the need remains, she wont allow the resources to diminish.
James DAngelo was at the giveaway and considers himself one of the lucky ones.
A couple of broken windows. No damage to the roof and destroyed my vehicle, DAngelo said.
During the hurricane, DAngelo and his 88-year-old mother watched their car float away outside their Fort Myers home.
But DAngelo wont let tragedy stop him from taking care of his mom. DAngelo rode his bike to the food bank to get food for his mother.
Volunteers with the Harry Chapin Food Bank put food into cars and arms, one by one at the food giveaway.
Fontenot took part in thanking each and every person and volunteer there.
Feeding America steps in many ways across the united states and in Puerto Rico. Were going to keep doing that. Part of my responsibility is to make sure that the American public knows whats happening. Because I trust that when we know what the issues are, we can solve just about anything. Ill keep doing it, Fontenot said.
Mondays distribution at the Stars Complex is a regular Harry Chapin event. Every Monday people in need can come and get food.
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Luminary Hotel Volunteers Pack 1000 Food Kit Donation Boxes At Harry Chapin Food Bank
Posted: February 25, 2022
FORT MYERS, FL Ten employees from Luminary Hotel & Co. volunteered their time today to pack boxes at the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida. In under three hours, the Luminary team, along with food bank staff packed 1000 boxes of non-perishable foods into kits that will be distributed to the food insecure in Lee County.
Each month, the Harry Chapin Food Bank feeds over 250,000 working families, children and seniors in Southwest Florida. Powered by community volunteers, tasks include sorting donations, packing food kit boxes, and distributing food at mobile pantries.
Luminary Hotel & Co. has a commitment to support our community and the organizations which serve it through the donation of hours of labor each month. Besides the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Luminary Hotel & Co. also volunteers at the Dr. Piper Center for Social Services in Fort Myers.
About Family Volunteer Day
We invite families to volunteer at the Harry Chapin Food Bank Collier County Center. Activities will include a tour of the facility, coloring, bagging produce, taking family photos and much more!To volunteer, R.S.V.P to Todd Lewis, Collier County volunteer coordinator at 334-7007 ext. 204 or .
If you have not volunteered with the food bank, please fill out the application at .
Parents and children are invited and encouraged to get involved.
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Harry Chapin Food Bank Distributes Millions Of Meals In Swfl With The Help Of Volunteers
Before the hurricane many food banks were having difficulty keeping products on their shelves, but there is no shortage of food right now as tons of food is pouring in from around the country.
While there is no shortage of volunteers helping to make sure it all gets distributed to those who need it, the volunteers are what is keeping it going.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank has distributed more than one-and-a-half million pounds of food in the last week alone.
More than 300 volunteers showed up to help stuff an assembly line of boxes filled with food.
Lori Cowden is one of those who has been giving her time to help.
It was important to me as soon as the disaster happened. I just wanted to give back, Cowden said.
Shes one of the hundreds who shows up at the food bank to make sure these products get delivered to those who need them.
Our Volunteers Are The Backbone Of Our Success Growth And Sustainability
Our members can accommodate all group sizes and individuals seeking volunteer opportunities. We provide the necessary safety training, supervision, and personally rewarding volunteer activities. Activities vary depending on your skills, availability and size of your group.
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Seeing A Need And Caring
Bonecutter first volunteered because he saw the need, but he continued because of the sense of caring shared by the food banks volunteer community.
I see the willingness to help others, he said. I think that its just a marvelous thing for our society, that people have concern for others. He also likes the way the food bank operates. Its run very efficiently, he said. The fact that only 4 percent of funds raised go toward administrative operating costs and 96 percent go toward food bank programs is significant, compared to other organizations, he said.
Bonecutter is no stranger to hard work. Born June 7, 1929, hes the youngest of seven children. All but one of his siblings lived until age 90 or more. I never drank or smoke, he said. I never even drank coffee.
Bonecutter grew up on a farm in the northeast corner of Indiana. He remembers the family not having electricity in the early 1930s, working by the light of lanterns, butchering their own meat. First they grew a few acres of tomatoes and picked the fruit themselves. Eventually they farmed 700 acres, growing corn, wheat, soybeans.
He was married and widowed twice. He first marriage lasted for 46-and-a-half years. He was married to his second wife, who died two years ago, for 14 years.
Bonecutter has two daughters and a son, seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.