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Southwest Florida struggles with hunger, relies on food banks for assistance

The Harry Chapin Food Bank reports more than 151,000 people in Southwest Florida are struggling with hunger.

For perspective: In September 2019 they gave out over 1.5 million pounds of food. In September 2020, 3.8 million pounds; a 144% increase.

Cars lined up at the Lee County Civic Center in North Fort Myers Thursday to collect fresh food. One couple said they would be lost without these mobile food pantries.

“If it wasn’t for the volunteers and the blessings from other people to help us out, a lot of us wouldn’t have food,” said Dee Gissendanner. “We can’t afford it.”

The volunteers who help distribute the goods have seen many families struggle through the pandemic.

“More families, and the repeat families are saying ‘What do we do? We have no end in sight,'” said volunteer Wendy Filler. “We’ve had volunteers, folks coming through saying ‘How do we give back?’ Sign up, volunteer with us.”

The Harry Chapin Food Bank says it is short on volunteers, especially for drive-thru food distributions.

Reporter:Nicole Lauren
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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