Fighting hunger and feeding hope — that’s the goal of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Saturday’s Hunger Walk is helping them do just that.
“I used to be hungry. When I was growing up, we were poor, and I didn’t even know it. We got food from the county in Wisconsin where we lived when my dad was laid off, so I could think of no better cause,” said Carolyn Mijokovic, a volunteer at the food bank.
She and her husband Steven have been volunteering with the food bank for 10 years and have participated in the WINK Feeds Families Hunger Walk every year.
“This shirt is the one he always wore for his cancer treatments,” Carolyn said.
But this year is her first without him.
“So he’s with us today in spirit and I’m very grateful,” she said.
Now, the cause is even closer to her heart.
It’s because of volunteers like Carolyn and generous donors that make feeding the community possible.
“Last year, we distributed about 26.9 million pounds of food; that’s about 22 million meals; that’s about 700 tractor-trailer loads full of food, two or three tractor-trailers every single day, so it takes a lot of support and effort to do that,” said Harry Chapin President and CEO Richard LeBer.
“You may not know that the person next door is struggling and unable to put food on their table, so I think the biggest thing for me has been awareness. Raising the awareness of the problem,” said WINK News Anchor Lois Thome.
“I’m no longer hungry,” Carolyn said. “I’m a little lonely, but I know I’m going to get through it and we’re going to — I’m going to continue to volunteer for Harry Chapin Food Bank.”
This year’s walk kicked off at 9:30 a.m. As of around 1 p.m. Saturday.
The $300,000 goal was not met, but everyone who contributed helped raise $226,780.00 this year.
Although this year’s walk has come to a close, the opportunity to donate to Harry Chapin Food Bank and support families experiencing food insecurity in Southwest Florida has not. The nonprofit is always accepting donations and said any help is appreciated.
WINK News and Harry Chapin thanks all sponsors and donors such as Lee County Sheriff’s Office, which made a $20,000 donation to the cause this weekend.
“We gotta make a change. And how do we do that? We take forfeiture money. We take bad money from bad people, drugs and guns and all of the above, and we make it good,” LCSO Sheriff Carmine Marceno said. “And we take that money today, and we feed people. So it’s a great day.”