The Harry Chapin Christmas food Drive on Boca Grande has a new pillar of support in Grande Aire.
The drive, which ends Dec. 15, has food barrels for donations located at Grande Aire, the U.S. Post Office, Sea Oats, Gill's Deli and two at the Boca Grande United Methodist Church.
Last year's record collection was pegged at 1,480 pounds of food.
Boca Grande Harry Chapin Christmas food drive coordinators, from left: Bob Elliott, Nick Kaiser, Joyce Jacobs of the Harry Chapin Food Bank and Thor Johnson. Not shown: Donna Lutton, Chuck Van Zoeren and Jim Cochrun.
This year, the Boca Grande United Methodist Church is the only religious connection to the drive as two other churches - St. Andrew's Episcopal Church and First Baptist Church of Boca Grande - pulled out of the effort, organizers said. Hudson's Grocery substituted a donation box for a food barrel ,which collects $10 bags of groceries.
The Harry Chapin Food Bank feeds more than 30,000 needy families every day.
The U.S. government reports the number of Florida residents on food stamps has nearly tripled in two years. The U.S. Agriculture Department reports a record 3.1 million Americans - one in six residents - receive food-stamp aid.