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Beacon hosts Mobile Food Pantry at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church

June 21, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Beacon of HOPE has announced that the Harry Chapin Mobile Food Pantry will visit Pine Island Thursday, June 29.

Island residents can either visit the Mobile Food Pantry at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Bokeelia between 9-11 a.m. or if transportation isn't available, call the Beacon of HOPE.

The Harry Chapin Mobile Pantry Program was established in July 2010. Since then it has delivered thousands of meals of fresh produce and food to families in need. The food bank staff works together to coordinate food quantities, distribution rates, location and partnerships, including making volunteer arrangements. Mobile pantries are often sponsored by a particular organization - this event is sponsored by Publix.

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The Harry Chapin Mobile Food Pantry will visit Pine Island Thursday, June 29.


"The average Mobile Food Pantry distribution is 2 hours," Programs Outreach Coordinator Louise Bain said. "A single Mobile Food Pantry can feed as many as 250 families."

The mission of the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida is "to overcome hunger in Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Glades 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."

"This is a cooperative effort with Harry Chapin Food Bank, Publix, United Way, the Pine Island Food Pantry and the Beacon of HOPE to feed families in need on Pine Island and Lee County," Beacon executive director Betsy Haesemeyer said. "The Beacon is preparing now for this opportunity to serve the people of Pine Island. We want the people of Pine Island to contact us at 239-283-5123 to pre-register as soon as possible."

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"Our goal is to reach as many people as we can," Bain said. "The process begins with a registration table and completing a form that just includes demographic information and the number of people in the household, etc., then they go shopping."

What's on the truck varies with what's available in the warehouse.

"Each family generally goes home with 30 to 40 pounds of food," Bain said. "The trucks carry items that make up complete meals: 2 or 3 fresh produce items, canned goods, dry goods, bread and meat and sometimes even snacks. This year there's been a huge demand for Mosquito repellant."

"One of the issues we face on Pine Island is people don't have transportation," Haesemeyer said. "That's one reason why it's so important to pre-register. Any Pine Island resident that can't get to the truck on the 29th should call the Beacon of HOPE and we will deliver the food to your home."

The Mobile Food Pantry will be at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church this year because the Pine Island Food Pantry is also located on the property. Any food that is not distributed from the truck on the 29th will go to the Pine Island Food Pantry.

"So everything stays on the island for island residents," Haesemeyer said.

"This is a crucial time for people and the need is greater than ever," Haesemeyer said. "We will have volunteers from Harry Chapin, United Way, the Pine Island Food Pantry and of course Beacon board members to help out. The Beacon will provide snacks and water."

Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church is at 12175 Stringfellow Road, Bokeelia.

The Beacon of HOPE is at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St James City, Call 239-283-5123.



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