Published: Jan 26, 2012 7:34 PM EST
Updated: Jan 27, 2012 12:28 AM EST

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Hunger has been a persistent problem in Southwest Florida, but even with so many people going without, the obesity and type two diabetes epidemic continues to spread, because the food many can afford to eat, just isn't good for them. But Thursday's event is all about proving there are healthy, inexpensive alternatives out there.     

The Harry Chapin Food Bank teamed up with the Fit-Friendly Coalition of Southwest Florida, the Skinny Pantry and several other community organizations to provide nutritious food to residents at Pine Manor Thursday. About 150 Fort Myers families will have a few days worth of nutritious meals to eat.

This project, known as Food For Life, is designed to promote obesity prevention and diabetes awareness and education. The Lee County Health Department and Lee Diabetes Care are also on-hand offering free blood glucose testing. Guests are also being taught how to prepare healthy meals using ingredients that are often donated to the food bank.

"I've found that it's a little bit more expensive for healthy food. I've seen especially if you're feeding a whole bunch of people," Pine Maor resident, Amanda McDonald said.

"You either have enough money to buy healthy food for a few, or enough food for all. So what we want to try to do is try to help people find healthier ways to eat on a low-income budget," Food Resource Manager, Chris Robinson said.

Many of the people specificially stopped by the event for the blood glucose testing. They said they have a family history of diabetes and wanted to get checked out. Those who are found to have irregular blood glucose levels may be eligible for a free course on how to manage the disease, and also a free year of testing supplies.    

The event wrapped up at 1 p.m., but organizers said there will be at least 10 other events in the coming months, spanning all five counties in Southwest Florida.