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Let’s Feed Lee collected more than 1500 pounds of food for Lehigh Community Services

October 10, 2018
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Let's Feed Lee was deemed a huge success for all of Lee County, as well as Lehigh Community Services.

Lehigh Community Services Executive Director Carolyn Peplow said they collected 1,522 pounds of food during the Let's Feed Lee event on Saturday, Sept. 29, as well as $301.

"We had about 15 volunteers there throughout the day. I got volunteers here that are marking it and stocking it on the shelves," she said Monday, Oct. 1.

During Let's Feed Lee, volunteers handed out shopping lists of the most needed items before individuals started their shopping at Publix in Lehigh Acres.

Peplow said they received pretty much everything on the list, which included a great deal of pasta and pasta sauce.

"Publix did BOGO on that stuff (items on the list) Saturday. That made it nice, too," she said.

Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida CEO and President Richard LeBer said they held Let's Feed Lee at every Publix location in Lee County, which included all 35 stores.

"We have never done anything of this scale in Lee County before," he said. "It's pretty amazing. We had almost 500 volunteers out there for the day. A lot of folks. A lot of work and a lot of great support for the community."

In the locations where there was a local agency, such as Lehigh Community Services, helping, LeBer said they had them use their staff and their vehicles.

"They took the food back to their agency directly. The cash came to the food bank, but the food bank bore the expense for the event," he said.

LeBer said there were at least a dozen different agencies helping at various places. The remaining stores were staffed by food bank staff and volunteers.

"The money and donations came back to the food bank and we will distribute it to organizations in Lee County," he said.

Let's Feed Lee took place during the time of year when it was most needed, during the off season.

"Everyone has been feeling the pinch. Certainly anyone near the water is feeling the pinch particularly. This is a tough time of the year for us for food sources partly because we get a lot of foods from farms and they really aren't growing right now. We get food from retail stores. Retail stores cut their inventory and stock back because they know there aren't that many people that are stocking food in the stores right now," LeBer said, adding that they are waiting for the season to start to increase their food quantities. "This is a tough time of the year for folks right now.

Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida Marketing and Communications Manager Mary Wozniak said their final total for Let's Feed Lee is 47,488 pounds of food and $11,733 in donations from the 35 Publix Supermarkets that were involved in the food drive.

"It helps us enormously, our agencies enormously," LeBer said. "We are really pleased with the outflowing of support, energy and enthusiasm everyone provided for us. It is tremendous to see the community come together in this way and ban together and help our neighbors."

He said they are very grateful for the support from the community.

"We are extremely grateful for all the wonderful organizations, partner agencies and the United Way for helping us put all of this together and get such a tremendously successful result for feeding people in our community," LeBer said.

When asked if they will hold the Let's Feed Lee event again next year, he said "we will be back."



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