By Kathleen Zehler
There are numerous events that take place in our communities that support very worthy causes and it is in the giving of ourselves that makes these charitable events a success; thus forming the exceptional community that we live in. Meals of Hope exemplifies this truth as you see many organizations, individuals and local businesses coming together to give of their time, talents, and monetary means. The group’s mission is to bring communities together to feed needy children and families in Collier County. A project of the Marco Island Sunrise Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club, and the Noontime Rotary Club; they are raising funds to prepare and pack 150,000 meals in a two hour period to distribute to local families in need.
Together, the three service organizations have created fundraisers with a goal to generate over $30,000 to be able to purchase supplies to package 150,000 meals for local children. Volunteer, Erik Condee stated, “Each year we strive to surpass the number of meals delivered from the year before. The first year we started with 100,000 meals and we are excited to see our numbers being raised each year.” There have been four social events thus far and two left for all to participate in to assist in reaching their goals. The first event was the Margaritaville Tailgate Party with Island Trends. The second event was held at Marco Island Brewery, followed by one at Mango’s Dockside Bistro. The most recent event was at CJ’s on the Bay. There will be two more and the final event location will be announced soon. Each of these local restaurants generously donated its facilities, time, expense of operating the event and, of course, amazing culinary delights! Take the generosity of the restaurants, the amazing support of the community, a 50/50 raffle, and the beautiful music donated by Dave Gardner, to bring the efforts full circle for a grand time for all as they generate the needed funds.
The final step the community participates in is a key piece of the puzzle. On November 17, 2012 from 9 AM to 11 AM at the Marco Island Charter Middle School on Marco Island, they ask YOU to participate by coming forward to help pack the 150,000 meals for the final event. They are hoping for over 500 volunteers of all ages and abilities to assemble meals. Students are also welcome and necessary for a successful event.
Meals of Hope was started locally by Stephen Popper. Coastal Breeze News had the opportunity to speak with him this week at the Harry Chapin Food Bank where the meals are distributed throughout the community. Stephen stated, “We’re really excited about the event in November. We package 150,000 meals that day at 20 cents a meal. The meals are then brought to the Harry Chapin Food Bank. When I brought this concept to Southwest Florida, we brought it to the Rotary Club of Naples. They really helped carry it for the first two years.”
Please come out to this very important event on November 17th at the Marco Island Charter Middle School and help make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. You will be helping others in receiving nutrition and comfort to give them hope! For more information please contact Wayne at 239-389-1265 or visit feedcollier.org