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Pandemic creates financial burden for hundreds in Collier County

So many Southwest Florida families are under a tremendous financial burden that local charities can hardly keep up with the demand.

A half-mile-long line of cars waited for meals provided by the Boys and Girls Club of Collier County, and the organization said they were shocked by the types of people who showed up.

Megan McCarthy Beauvais, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Collier County, said reality started to set in that the pandemic is causing a huge burden in Southwest Florida.

“Nobody is going to wait in line an hour-plus if the need isn’t truly there,” she said.

The Boys and Girls Club is teaming with the Harry Chapin Food Bank to distribute hot meals and meal kits.

On Friday alone, they gave out all 500 kits and had to send away people at the end of the line.

“It’s frustrating when you see you can’t help everyone but we’re really trying to focus on the thousands of people who are getting assistance,” Beauvais said.

She said it’s people she never imagined needing help to put food on the table, people who had good-paying jobs a month ago.

“There doesn’t seem to be a group this isn’t affecting in some way … whether it’s a decline if you’re a small business owner, or you are totally furloughed,” Beauvais said.

“Everyone has that fear what happens if things get worse, what happens if I don’t get food.”

The Boys and Girls Club will be handing out groceries and hot meals at their Immokalee location, 1155 Roberts Ave. W., every Tuesday and at their Naples location, 7500 Davis Blvd., every Friday.

Reporter:Lauren Sweeney
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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