Harry Chapin Food Bank, GL Homes Partner to Make Summer the Healthiest, Not Hungriest Season

GL Homes team members packed nearly 900 meal kits during the two-hour “Pack the Pantry” event 

Harry Chapin Food Bank, the largest food bank in Southwest Florida, is excited to announce GL Homes team members packed nearly 900 meal kits during a “Pack the Pantry” event on June 4. The packing event was an opportunity to raise awareness about the increased need for healthy food for children and families during the summer months. 

GL Homes employees, families and friends competed to see how many Harry’s Helpings meal kits they could pack during the two-hour period. The group of 15 volunteers successfully packed 891 meal kits during the event. 

“We cannot achieve our vision of ending hunger in Southwest Florida without the generous support from organizations like GL Homes,” said Richard LeBer, the president and CEO of Harry Chapin Food Bank. “At Harry Chapin Food Bank, we know that no school can mean no food for far too many families in Southwest Florida. Packing events, such as the ‘Pack the Pantry’ event with GL Homes, not only helps to provide hundreds of families throughout the region with healthy options, but also raises awareness about the growing need in our community.” 

Food insecurity, defined as the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle, is a foremost concern in Southwest Florida. Feeding America estimates more than 177,700 people are impacted throughout Lee, Collier, Charlottee, Glades and Hendry counties. Of those, nearly 41,000 are children. 

As the largest hunger-relief organization and only Feeding America partner in Southwest Florida, Harry Chapin Food Bank works proactively to change that through a variety of programs and partnerships focused on making summer the healthiest, not hungriest, season, including the Harry’s Helpings program. 

Harry’s Helpings provides food kits for families at a variety of educational and community facilities, including childcare and early learning centers, clinics, libraries and community centers. Each kit is filled with enough nutritious food for 15 meals, ensuring children and their families have healthy options at mealtimes. 

Harry’s Helpings currently operates out of more than 10 sites throughout Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties. In 2022, Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed more than 170,500 pounds of food, the equivalent of more than 142,000 meals, throughout this program. 

“GL Homes is thrilled to partner with Harry Chapin Food Bank to ensure children and families have healthy options at mealtimes throughout the summer,” said Sarah Alsofrom, the vice president of community relations at GL Homes.  “At GL Homes, we’re committed to support organizations throughout Florida that work to break the cycle of homelessness, combat hunger, and support children and education.  While our Harry Chapin Food Bank competition was all in fun, we take hunger relief very seriously.  Harry’s Helpings program knocks it out of the park!” 

In addition to the Harry’s Helpings program, Harry Chapin Food Bank operates in-school pantries at several schools throughout Southwest Florida, many of which stay open during the summer months. These pantries can serve as a lifeline for families in need. 

Harry Chapin Food Bank has also expanded its Fulfill Mobile Pantry program, making food more accessible to families in underserved and high-need communities. This program provides community members with a variety of fresh produce, canned and dry goods, frozen proteins, bread, grains and other foods. 

“We continue to see long lines at our mobile pantry distributions, underscoring the growing need throughout our community,” said LeBer. “As we look toward our future, we remain committed to our mission of ensuring no one in our community goes hungry.” 

For a list of mobile pantry distributions, visit harrychapinfoodbank.org/food-locator. To learn more about Harry Chapin Food Bank or to volunteer, visit harrychapinfoodbank.org.

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