More than 200 people attended a back-to-school wellness event earlier this month at the Gargiulo Education Center coordinated by Meals of Hope, the largest food pantry provider in Southwest Florida.
Participants received free screenings from Lions Eye Clinic and Help a Diabetic Child, and 50 families signed up for food assistance from Meals of Hope that will enable them to participate in weekly food pantries. A Meals of Hope mobile food pantry was also on site.
Additional participating service organizations included Dress for Success; Goodwill Industries of SWFL; Avow; North Naples Fire Department; Naples Art Association and First Florida Integrity Bank.
Refreshments included hot dogs donated by The Stage and sno-cones and popcorn provided by Northside Naples Kiwanis. To add to the fun, Bikes for Tykes donated a girl’s and boy’s bicycle that were raffled during the event.
“During the summer, we worked with the Garguilo Education Center to provide meals for the camp kids through the Summer BreakSpot program, and we became aware how underserved this community really is,” said Meals of Hope President and CEO Stephen Popper. “With the help of a great group of community service partners, we were able to connect families with some key resources and make a fun day of it for the children as well.”
Meals of Hope provides a total of 13 food pantries – including six mobile pantries – throughout Collier and Lee Counties to distribute fresh and nutritious food to approximately 1,000 families each week. Additional services and summer meal programs serve more than 10,000 Southwest Florida residents each month.