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Summer giving

By Staff | Jul 2, 2021

Summer in Southwest Florida has lots going for it for those of us who embrace the sunshine or love nothing better than the sound of a late-afternoon thunder-boomer.

Less crowded beaches.

Shorter lines, if any, at our favorite spots to grab a bite or sit and linger.

More time for, well, most anything that makes this a great place to live.

For some of us, though, particularly those involved with any of the area’s many non-profits or social services organizations, there is no summer break.

A pair of press releases received by our newsroom this week illustrated this well.

School hasn’t been out yet a week, but the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools, Inc. has already launched its annual Back to School Supply Drive.

The drive, which provides educators with free school supplies, opened Monday and continues through July 23.

Supplies on the collection list include notebook paper, pens, No. 2 pencils, crayons, glue sticks, rulers, notebooks, three-ring binders, scissors and backpacks.

Those looking to donate these or other items may do so online at the foundation’s Amazon Wish List link, or by dropping them at one of the numerous drop-off locations throughout Lee County.

Cape locations include Aubuchon Homes; Miloff Aubuchon Realty Group; Lee County Tax Collector and LCEC locations; and Busey Bank and Bank of America branches.

The Amazon link is www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1NBTYD1CL474M/ref=hz_ls_biz_ex

Priority Marketing, meanwhile, submitted a release on behalf on some of the numerous organizations looking for volunteers.

Among them:

* Community Cooperative

Volunteer opportunities: Sam’s Community Cafe & Kitchen, Community Market, mobile food pantry, Meals on Wheels

Contact: Volunteer@CommunityCooperative.com or 239-332-0441

* Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Volunteer opportunities: Wildlife Hospital, Nature Center, dock masters, boat captains

Contact: jamesk@conservancy.org or 239-253-9460

* Pace Center for Girls, Lee County

Volunteer opportunities: Love That Dress! event support, sort and tag Love That Dress! inventory

Contact: Jessica.Cosden@pacecenter.org or 239-425-2366

* Guardian ad Litem Foundation, 20th Judicial Circuit

Volunteer opportunities: Court-certified volunteer child advocates for abused, neglected and abandoned children in SWFL. The Foundation provides training, and volunteers represent a child’s best interest as they navigate the judicial, education and health care systems.

Contact: krista.jackson@ga.fl.gov or (239) 533-5437

* Gulf Coast Village retirement community

Volunteer opportunities: Assisting with resident activities, helping concierge desk, driving a 6-passenger golf cart and assisting in dining room

Contact: dianan@gulfcoastvillage.org or 239-573-3334

* Better Together

Volunteer opportunities: Host family, job coach, family advocate, faith-based coordinator

Contact: info@bettertogetherus.org or 239-470-2733

A full list, with web links, may be found at prioritymarketing.com/southwest-florida-nonprofits-need-summer-volunteers/

And let’s not forget the food banks.

Beginning Sunday, “reemployment assistance” claimants in Florida will no longer receive the $300 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation supplement.

The supplement ends nationwide on Sept. 6.

The good news?

There are jobs out there — more than 450,000 posted online throughout the state, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s latest numbers.

Here in Southwest Florida, employers are begging for workers with “help wanted” signs in abundance.

The bad news?

It’s summer in Florida where, in theory anyway, off-season is harder for those in service-industry jobs. Meanwhile, food insecurity is a problem year round.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank, which provides food monthly to nearly 152,000 Southwest Floridans — 32 percent of them children, 19 percent of them seniors — is always in need of donations, both cash and non-perishables. Last month alone, they distributed 4.6 million tons of food in the five-county area served.

Visit harrychapinfoodbank.org .

Together, we can help make the Summer of 2021, if not the best one, a better one, for all of us.

— Neighbor editorial