Volunteers feed families in Dunbar; how you can help

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Credit: WINK News

Volunteers at the Harry Chapin Food Bank are working to feed families in Southwest Florida, but are enough resources available?

St. Matthew’s House on Thursday held a food distribution for the first time in Dunbar at the Mount Olive AME Church. Cars started lining up well before the 4 p.m. start time and volunteers decided to open up early.

No matter the neighborhood, the need is real. More than 400 families were given food at Thursday’s event.

“Kids, families, hurting seniors – they need food,” said Vann Ellison, CEO of St. Matthew’s House.

Ellison said they’re handing out everything they have, every week.

“Without the food banks rolling up their sleeves and bringing in massive amounts of food from around the country, we really couldn’t do this,” Ellison said.

That’s a relief for many, including Tom Garee. He came out to Thursday’s food distribution in Dunbar to get food for a friend and he said it’s a huge help.

“It means everything to them, you know, if they have to raise their grandkids, every little bit helps,” he said.

Barry Tignem agreed. “I appreciate this. It’s s blessing from the Lord.”

Richard LeBer, the CEO and president of Harry Chapin Food Bank, said they’re spending more than a $1 million a month on food and they’re distributing more than double what they were last year.

“So far we’re coping well but we need lots of support,” LeBer said. 

To get that support, they’re expanding food sources by talking to farms and wholesalers.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation,” LeBer said. “We’re working very hard every day to stay ahead of the curve.”

LeBer said they’ve been fortunate in that they haven’t had to turn anyone away.

That doesn’t mean the Harry Chapin Food Bank and St. Matthew’s House don’t need your help. You can make a donation to either organization on their websites: St. Matthew’s House or Harry Chapin Food Bank.

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