March to a Million Meals: SWFL community collects enough for 23,000 meals
A community in the region went all in to help support families experiencing food insecurity in Southwest Florida.
Grey Oaks in Collier County collected nearly 2 tons of food and $9,000 for Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida.
The effort was organized by Grey Oaks residents Lee Bewley and Tom Leipzig.
“So the feeling was unbelievable,” Leipzig said. “Not quite Tome Brady Super Bowl, but we felt great.”
After hearing about the great need, the two organized the food drive with the help of their Grey Oaks community.
“I think people in this community know that there’s a lot of suffering out there, and they really wanted to help,” Bewley said.
It’s the first time Grey Oaks has put on a drive with the food bank, and neither Bewley nor Leipzig had ever organized a food drive before.
“When we started, as Tom said, we were hoping for 1,000 pounds of food,” Bewley explained.
“Frankly, after day one and two, Lee and I were a little nervous. She had to calm me down,” Leipzig said. “But then, all of a sudden, the food started roaring in, and we filled and we filled the room almost to the brim with food.”
That translated to three vans full of food donated to help others. With the $ 9,000 in cash also raised, it comes out to more than 23,000 meals for families in Southwest Florida.
“Cases of peanut butter, cases of pasta, cases of tomato sauce,” Bewley said. “It was, you know, we had more mac and cheese than we could feed a whole school of kids for a week.”
“It’s all about the residents of Grey Oaks, and they really, they really stepped up, and it was it was an amazing, an amazing success,” Leipzig said.
Bewley and Leipzig have not stopped their efforts to collect for the cause.
“There’s no doubt we are going to do another one,” Leipzig said.