The FGCU women’s basketball team took time out of their busy schedules September 15 to volunteer at the Harry Chapin Food Bank as part of the “Fill Our Fleet to Feed the Hungry” food drive. This is the second time that they have helped fi ght hunger in Southwest Florida. Located in Fort Myers, the Harry Chapin Food Bank dedicates its time to provide food to those who don’t have access to any at all. Melanie Thomas, director of operations of women’s basketball, organized the trip for the team to go. Head coach Karl Smesko and Athletics Director Ken Kavanagh were also in attendance at the food bank.
“They do great work to bring food to underprivileged people of Southwest Florida, and helping out gives us a chance to give a little back for supporting us,” Smesko said. “It’s a way to promote awareness and we support and respect such a great organization.” Women’s basketball captains Sarah Hansen and Jenna Cobb were just a few of all the players who were there to help out.
Hansen, who is a guard for the Eagles, took time out of her Sunday to help collect food and donations for the food bank. When asked about how volunteering has affected her view on hunger in Southwest Florida, she replied, “In most places, Sunday is the day that you catch up on your work that you need to do for the rest of the week or you relax before you have to start back into a week full of a heavy class load and heavy practices. I mean, we were there together as a team. We actually care, and we actually want to have a positive impact on the community and not just be something for people to come see.”
She added, “Just seeing food brought in, you can tell there was a need for help; we loaded about 40 trucks from front to back of food. It was eyeopening. This shows that our whole team cares, not just a couple of us.”
Cobb, who is also a guard for the FGCU women’s basketball team, added her view about volunteering to end hunger, “It was a really neat experience for all of us to go in together and give back to the community because this is a community that gives so much to us, so just by being able to go and do it together and be able to help Southwest Florida with the hunger… it was just a great experience to be able to help out.”
Last year, volunteers at the Harry Chapin Food Bank contributed more than 36,000 hours of their time. More than 13.8 million meals were provided to families in need because of the Harry Chapin Food Bank (harrychapinfoodbank.org).
How the system works is that people donate however much they want to help out, and then a bag of food goes to whoever needs it. There are many ways you can help fi ght hunger in Southwest Florida! If you want to donate and help the Harry Chapin Food Bank, the nearest Publix has bags that you can buy, and the money will go toward donations for the bank. Or go to their website at www.harrychapinfoodbank.org. If you donate $1 online, it will go toward $6 worth of food. The phone number to call and make a donation is (239) 334-7007. Here is where you can go and drop off food or donations:
Harry Chapin Food Bank, 3760 Fowler St. Fort Myers, FL 33901
Because of the help our women’s basketball team gave, the Harry Chapin Food Bank set a new record of more than $2,000 in donations, which will help distribute more than $15,000 to additional food for families (harrychapinfoodbank.org). The Harry Chapin Food Bank is always looking for volunteers to help, so if you want to help make Southwest Florida less hungry, help out. You never know who you will be helping.