Published: Mar 23, 2013 9:16 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Next Level Church is hosting its 5th annual Feeding Fort Myers food drive to feed students and families of Orange River Elementary for an entire year.

Feeding Fort Myers is a community effort by Next Level Church to feed mouths & futures at Orange River Elementary. The goal isto have 150 neighborhood and workplace parties that will generate a total of 25,000 cans of food/non-perishable items for Orange River Elementary. Parties are taking place all across SWFL March 18th-23rd, and donations generated by the parties will all be brought to Next Level Church the weekend of March 23rd & 24th.

All non-perishable food donations generated by Feeding Fort Myers will be used to stock the Orange River Elementary food pantry, and all monetary donations will fund the continued growth of the thriving Orange River Elementary Community Garden.94% of students at Orange River Elementary qualify for free and reduced lunch, and Feeding Fort Myers aims to feed those students both now and in the future. Next Level Church has helped ORE students, teachers, and administrators build a Community Garden directly on the ORE campus so that students are empowered with a sustainable way to provide for themselves and their families. Monies donated through Feeding Fort Myers will fund additional produce beds and irrigation for the garden. Next Level Church has an ongoing partnership with Orange River Elementary as part of its efforts to empower the next generation through its Be Orange Community Outreach Strategy.

Next Level Church also continues to partner with CCMI, the local soup kitchen. CCMI has been part of Feeding Fort Myers for the past five years. This is the first year that CCMI will actually be helping Next Level Church bring donations directly to Orange River Elementary rather than taking the donations to CCMI’s Fort Myers facilities. Economic times continue to hit Lee County very hard, and Next Level Church continues to look to empower those in need. 

On Saturday and Sunday, March 23rd & 24th, Next Level Church will be collecting all of the cans that were accumulated from the 150 Feeding Fort Myers parties.Next Level Church is located at 12400 Plantation Road in South Fort Myers.  Can drop-off times will be thirty minutes prior to each of the five Weekend Services: Saturday from 4:00-4:30 and 5:45-6:15, & Sunday from 8:30-9:00, 10:15-10:45, and 12:00-12:30. Feel free to stop by and see what 25,000 cans looks like!

This event is not just for members of Next Level Church. NCL encourages the community to get involved, as well. Visit www.FeedingFortMyers.com for more information and to find a party happening near you.