LEE COUNTY, Fla. - The Harry Chapin Food Bank is distributing food for thousands of southwest Florida families. At one point, the organization was worried about a shortage of turkeys, but the outpouring of support has been spectacular.
One woman rallied her neighbors and made Thanksgiving dinner possible for hundreds of families.
Two words best describe the atmosphere inside, and outside, of Lee County's Harry Chapin Food Bank. "Controlled chaos!" laughed Development Director Miriam Pereira.
Cart after cart, box after box, is distributed to various charities.
It's people like Norma Jean Joyner who've helped make this a reality. "Its been fun for me to do it," she said.
She rallied her Naples community, The Montenero at Pelican Bay to step up though a turkey drive. "This year was my 4th year to raise money for Harry Chapin," she said.
Each of the past two years, neighbors have raised more than $4,000!
"I think that it makes them feel good, and that makes me feel good. Because we are all very fortunate, the people that live in this building, we all have a lot of blessings and it makes me feel good that we can share some of our blessings with others," Joyner said.
She asks specifically for checks, and with those checks often come notes of appreciation.
This year alone, their donations bought more than 300 turkeys. It comes at a time when the need is what the food bank calls "extremely high."
Requests jumped to 14,000 turkeys. Pereira says the community has stepped up to fill the need, and the empty stomachs. She's overwhelmed with gratitude.
"I know it sounds 'corny' but it warms your heart. It really does," Pereira said.
All in all, almost 12,000 turkeys and chickens were distributed to agencies across southwest Florida, along with all the fixings like corn, potatoes, beans, and bread. The food bank tells WINK News that most of the agencies have already handed out the meals so families can get ready to cook tomorrow.