During a socially distanced event coordinated by Meals of Hope, 25 student volunteers from Golden Gate High School participating in Grace Place for Children & Families’ summer program worked alongside members of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office to pack more than 10,000 meals to help feed local families.
“We are fortunate to collaborate with the Grace Place team and Collier County Sheriff’s Office to show how we can pack meals safely and have a fun, productive group activity for volunteers,” said Steve Popper, president and CEO of Meals of Hope, Southwest Florida’s largest food pantry provider. “It’s a great example of three community organizations working together to help feed people in need.”
The meals packed at the event will be distributed at Grace Place’s food pantry and at Meals of Hope pantries, which distributed a record-setting 388,000 pounds of food in May to families in need.
Grace Place’s summer program offers local high school students activities centered on college access, with resume drafting and FAFSA completion, to art classes, to career-focused field trips with local employers.
“Our students were excited to volunteer for a project that’s worthwhile and purposeful – and not virtual,” said Karen Rodino, LEAD High School Site Coordinator. “It’s also a great opportunity for them to interact with each other and with members of the Sheriff’s Office.”
Sergeant Brian Sawyer of the Collier County Sheriff’s Office said, “This is a perfect example of a great partnership with members of our community. We’re happy we had the resources available today to participate and help out.”
If you would like to help by sponsoring a meal packing event or volunteering at a mobile pantry, please email [email protected] for information. Volunteers need to arrive one hour before the mobile pantry distribution starts, stay the full three hours, and wear closed-toe shoes.
To help those in need, a new interactive map of Collier County food pantries can be found at www.MealsofHope.org/pantry.
Meals of Hope provides a total of 11 food pantries – including nine mobile pantries – throughout Collier and Lee counties to distribute fresh and nutritious food to approximately 3,000 families, seniors and veterans each week. Additional services and summer meal programs serve more than 10,000 Southwest Florida residents each month.