Community Cooperative will again offer monthly mobile food pantries for veterans at the Lee County Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinic in Cape Coral, with the first set for 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 6. At the drive-thru pantries, veterans and their families will receive a week’s worth of shelf-stable food, meat and fresh produce.
“Nationwide, 25% of active military families are getting help from food pantries, and hunger among the 12 million veterans over the age of 60 is sadly skyrocketing,” said Tracey Galloway, CEO of Community Cooperative. Community Cooperative offered its first veterans-only food pantry at the VA Clinic in Cape Coral in Spring of 2017.
During the pandemic, veterans were able to receive food at other drive-thru pantry locations offered by Community Cooperative, sometimes as many as 16 per month. Before the pandemic, eight mobile pantries were scheduled monthly by Community Cooperative, averaging about 150 households per pantry. Now, an average of 250 to 300 households are served at each site, with 425 households being the highest.
“Whether it’s the 30-year-old Marine who served in Afghanistan or the 92-year-old WWII Army vet, I have to take pause every time I see these American heroes standing in line for food assistance,” said Stefanie Edwards, COO of Community Cooperative.
The VA honored Community Cooperative with the inaugural Bay Pines Director’s Club award in September for the food assistance program at the Lee County VA Clinic. The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System runs nine facilities serving more than 108,000 veterans in 10 counties in Central Southwest Florida and is the fourth-busiest VA Healthcare system in the country.
Community Cooperative offers other mobile food pantries throughout Lee County in January. To see the full schedule of food pantries, donate or volunteer, www.CommunityCooperative.com, or call 239-332-7687.
About Community Cooperative
For 35 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 Stefanie Edwards at Stefanie@CommunityCooperative.com or call (239) 332-7687. Monetary donations are always welcomed and can be made directly at www.CommunityCooperative.com, or mailed to: Community Cooperative, P.O. Box 2143, Fort Myers, FL 33902.