Community Cooperative raised more than $1 million with a record turnout of more than 770 people to help thousands of men, women and children in our county who struggle every day with hunger and homelessness at the 19th annual soup kitchen benefit.
“We have veterans sleeping in the woods and families sleeping in cars right here in Southwest Florida,” said Stefanie Edwards, CEO of Community Cooperative. “Many are working families who can’t bear the costs of rising food, housing and gas prices. Once again, our supporters generously stood by us and donated to ensure we can serve those struggling with hunger and homelessness. And as our dear friend, the event founder and namesake, the late Sam Galloway, Jr. would say, ‘because it’s the right thing to do.’”
The evening’s inspiration started with the singing of Galloway’s favorite song, God Bless America, the Pledge of Allegiance and messages from Galloway’s son, Robert Galloway, who is also a member of the Community Cooperative Board of Directors. Kicking off the fundraising, Edwards and emcee and NBC-2 anchor Kellie Burns shared a compelling video and statistics that tell the story of the impact of Community Cooperative.
“We serve over 1,000 meals per day through Meals on Wheels, volunteers serve hot meals daily in Sam’s Community Café and Kitchen, and our Community Market offers our clients the opportunity to select food from our shelves and instills dignity for those accessing our services,” said Edwards. “All of this is possible, thanks to the care and kindness of our donors and volunteers who put the needs of the hungry and homeless first in our community, just like Sam taught us.”
More than 150 volunteers came together to put on the event, along with nearly 20 food and drink vendors that donated an entire southern-style dinner served in the service garages at Sam Galloway Ford in Fort Myers. The centerpieces from the evening were distributed as a special surprise to Meals on Wheels participants after the event.
The 20th Annual Sam Galloway, Jr. & Friends Soup Kitchen Benefit is scheduled for March 2, 2023.
Sam Galloway, Jr. and friends from downtown Fort Myers churches began feeding the hungry and homeless after Sunday services nearly 40 years ago. It resulted in the founding of Community Cooperative (still referred to as the Soup Kitchen), a nonprofit grassroots organization that continues to develop innovative solutions to eliminating hunger and homelessness in Lee County.
There are a variety of ways to support the mission of Community Cooperative all year. To donate, visit CommunityCooperative.com, or call 239-332-7687.
About Community Cooperative
For 37 years, Community Cooperative has worked to effectively eliminate hunger and homelessness in Lee County while simultaneously inspiring and supporting sustained positive change in its clients by delivering innovative food, education and social service programs. With a dedicated team of volunteers, board of directors and staff, Community Cooperative stays committed to its core responsibility to collect and distribute resources through a strong and viable network of community partners. Community Cooperative is an exemplary steward of the resources entrusted to it and serves clients with compassion and integrity. Through collaboration and ongoing education, Community Cooperative supports and strengthens those whose lives have been affected by hunger and homelessness, ensuring that they have access to the resources necessary to transform their lives with dignity. For more resources and information on how to get involved, contact Tami Holliday at Tami@communitycooperative.com or call (239) 332-7687. Monetary donations are always welcomed and can be made directly at CommunityCooperative.com, or mailed to: Community Cooperative, P.O. Box 2143, Fort Myers, FL 33902.