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Chamber, Suncoast team up to help feed families

June 7, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with the Suncoast Community Center pantry to help the neediest families in Lee County put food on the dinner table this summer and beyond.

The Chamber is looking for people to donate canned goods they can donate to the food pantry by either coming by their office or by attending the numerous events the chamber holds monthly.

Carolyn Graves, sales director for the chamber, said she thought a food drive would be a good way for the chamber to give back.

Graves reached out to Jennifer Youngs, Community Support Services resident coordinator for Suncoast Estates - Goodwill of Southwest Florida. It took a while, but they exchanged cards and got the ball rolling.

"We were collecting canned food for our after-hours event and one of my volunteers sent them what we collected," Graves said. "We were finally able to get in touch."

Graves said she would like to make this food drive an ongoing event, having members and others bring in canned food items to events such as the after-hours, luncheon and breakfast meetings, as well as other special events such as Bingo at Heron's Glen.

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"I hope we can do this past the summer. That depends on how the people respond to it," Graves said. "We'll play it by ear and hope that whatever we get helps."

The Suncoast Community Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that partners with the United Way, Goodwill of Southwest Florida, and Lee County Human Services. It serves low-income families, especially for the 4,600 people who live in the Suncoast community.

Its mission is to promote community health and self- sufficiency. Among its missions is a bi-weekly food pantry, as well as a bi-weekly breads/ sweets/ produce pantry, that serves to supplement, not fulfill all the community's grocery needs.

The regular food pantry occurs every other Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. to accommodate those that work during the day. The breads, sweets, produce pantry occurs every other Saturday, from 9 a.m. until noon.

Occasionally, the Saturday bread pantry is closed as sometimes the food bank does not have breads/sweets/produce available, or if there is a special event. When that happens, notices will be posted at the center.

Suncoast Community Center also provides community outreach, social service referrals, community events and houses a community garden.

The North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce office is at 2787 N Tamiami Trail. Upcoming events may be found on its website,

Suncoast Community Center welcomes anyone in Lee County. To find more local pantries in this area go to:

You can enter your zip code and the radius in miles that you would like to search, a pantry list will then be generated.



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