The short spring Harry Chapin Food Drive on Boca Grande is under way and will conclude after Easter weekend.
The drive comes fast on the heels of the record-smashing Taste of Boca Grande fundraiser Feb. 4 at the Boca Bay Pass Club, which generated $41,000 and brought the 12-year total to $306,000.
"This year's Taste was a total success," said Nick Kaiser, event organizer. "A spectacular success."
Boca Grande Harry Chapin 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.
Taste of Boca Grande organizers plan to arrange fall visits for participating taste chefs to the Harry Chapin Food Bank in Fort Myers. The food bank distributes 12 million pounds of food annually to the hungry in a five-county region, including Charlotte and Lee counties, and feeds more than 30,000 needy families every day.
The spring drive on Gasparilla Island has food donation barrels 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.
Hudson's Grocery has substituted a donation box for the $10 bags of groceries. Gill's Deli continues to offer the food-bag option.
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 stamps.