According to USDA statistics, “In 2018, 37.2 million people lived in food-insecure households nationwide including 6.0 million children.”
In Marco, a local food retailer known as Winn Dixie has taken the opportunity to give back to the community. Winn Dixie customers and staff purchased 3450 pounds of holiday food for local families in need. It has also partnered with Our Daily Bread Food Pantry in addressing food-insecure households in the Marco Island and surrounding areas.
At Winn Dixie, during the Christmas Food Drive, “Give a little, Feed a Lot this Holiday” there was a lot of bell ringing at the check-out counter as customers gave generously. The Food Pantry picked up 3450 pounds of food with another 1500 pounds more two days later.
According to Ron McClay of Our Daily Bread, their partnership with Winn-Dixie is well into its second year and has grown to include not only the Food Pantry, but also the Senior Luncheon and other outreaches. Winn Dixie is a huge contributor to the Food Pantry’s everyday inventory and the Food Pantry also buys food items from WD when they are on sale.
Once the food truck is unloaded at Our Daily Bread Food Pantry at the Winterberry location, everything has to be weighed. The perishables go immediately to the refrigeration room and everything else is taken to the intake room to be marked and dated. The bar code on the canned goods is scratched and are marked following federal guidelines.
On Retail Rescue Fridays, the Food Pantry crew of Ron McClay with several volunteers pick up donated items from Winn Dixie, the two Publix stores, and on Wednesdays during season they pick up fresh produce from the Farmer’s Market and at Empire Bagels. In exchange, they also bring them bags of groceries. Nothing is thrown away if they can be re-used.
According to Ron McClay, most of the families that visit the Food Pantry on Saturdays are from Marco Island, up 951/US41 across to San Marco, which is their basic demographics. The Food Pantry also visit 6 Ls Farm in East Naples.
According to Liz Pecora, the Director of Communications for our Daily Bread, their programs reach individuals spiritually, physically and geographically. By offering healthy food choices, referring to partners to fulfill needs beyond food and praying with our guests, we are fulfilling our vision to eliminate hunger in our community. Together we are working to wipe out hunger in Collier County.
In Collier County, Florida’s largest county, 22% live in poverty (The state average is 15%). Poverty for children is growing at a 72% rate for Collier County while the rest of the state averages 33%. The Pantry serves 43% children, 48% adults and 9% seniors.
Our Daily Bread Food Pantry is open on the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 10 AM to noon. Food donations may be dropped off at the Auburndale side of the Family Church in a drop-off box. The Pantry is located at The Family Church, 1450 Winterberry Drive. For assistance or to volunteer, call 239-394-1646.