Published: Jun 10, 2010 6:20 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 10, 2010 3:20 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla - Disaster relief packs will be pre-positioned at food banks in our area to provide immediate relief for people suffering in case a hurricane should hit.


Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity, and Abbott, the global health care company, will partner to pre-position disaster relief packs containing donated Abbott nutritional products at 23 food banks in preparation for the 2010 hurricane season.  The Harry Chapin Food Banks of Southwest Florida will be the recipient in this area.

Local food banks serve an important role in providing immediate relief in communities impacted by hurricanes.  This pre-positioning of food packs will allow nutritional food to be distributed directly to affected families.   The Harry Chapin Food Bank was selected based on the area's vulnerability to hurricanes, population coverage, and its capacity to assist in disaster response.

Volunteers from participating food banks will turn more than 120 tons of Abbott-donated nutritional products into a total of 6,400 disaster relief packs, designed for various family sizes and age ranges.  Abbott is donating supplies to include Pediasure, Pedialyte, Ensure and Zone Bars.  These supplies will be packaged in a relief box suitable for distribution to individuals and families following a hurricane. The Harry Chapin Food Bank will receive pallets of the packs, which will be able to help support people in the aftermath of a hurricane or other natural disaster.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank has been at the forefront of disaster response, helping to coordinate relief through effective distribution of food and grocery products.  If disaster strikes this year, the food bank will be able to offer free nutritional products that families can utilize while rebuilding their lives.  The packs will be distributed through its regular participating agencies.

If the donated supplies are not needed for disaster relief this season, the Harry Chapin Food Bank will combine them with their regular inventory, providing extra assistance to people struggling with hunger on an ongoing basis.

Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive.  As the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, the network members supply food to more than 37 million Americans each year, including 14 million children and 3 million seniors.  More than 200 member food banks (including the Harry Chapin Food Bank) support 61,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms.

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture, and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics.

The Harry Chapin Food Bank solicits, collects and stores quality food for distribution to needy people through a network of more than 170 local nonprofit agencies in Lee, Collier, Hendry, Charlotte and Glades counties, who provide food to more than 20,000 people monthly.  675,000 pounds of food are distributed monthly.  In the past fiscal year, The Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed more than eight million pounds of food and other grocery products.

Additional information about or to contribute financially to the Harry Chapin Food Bank, contact 239-334-7007 or go to harrychapinfoodbank.org.