It’s the subtle kindness of our neighbors that I will never forget...

RMSFF Grantee, The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, provides nutritious food to more than 30,000 people a month in the Southwest Florida area. Still, a 2011 Feeding America (their parent organization) study found that 172,500 people in the food bank’s five county service area remain hungry. To narrow that gap, the food bank determined they would need to double their current food distribution from 16.6 million pounds to more than 32 million pounds over the next three to five years.

In 2012, they kicked off a $5.1 million, 2-1/2 year capital campaign to solve the food bank’s current financial, facility and logistical limitations. They needed to:

  1. Complete the purchase of a 48,000-square foot warehouse,
  2. Make improvements to their property and equipment, and
  3. Expand or replace an aging truck fleet.

Hard work ensued, generous donors surfaced and, more than halfway toward their $5.1 million goal they recently announced the public phase of their $5.1 million capital campaign.  The impact of their work is perhaps best understood through the story of one of their many committed food bank volunteers.

Bernadette is a Saturday morning volunteer coordinator for The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida. Bernadette says,

"I grew up poor and hungry, oftentimes my only meal of the day was a school lunch. Hunger didn’t just hit us at the dinner table; it affected our lives and the people around us. While I could tell a few stories of pain and anguish, those are not the memories that move me. Rather, it’s the subtle kindness of our neighbors that I will never forget. Time after time, I would wake up hungry to find a bushel basket of food on our doorstep.  Those memories of kindness and compassion have shaped who I am today.”

Paying it forward, Bernadette says that nutrition is her life-long mission and close to her heart. “My quest is to make a difference in my community, to extend the kindness and increase food access to children and their families."

Bernadette extends her thanks to the food bank for making a difference in her community.  The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation echoes her thanks and is grateful to The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida and the good work they do there!

Posted on Sun, May 24 2015 7:32 am by Linda Carey Halverson