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3,771 pounds of food donated during drive

April 20, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Lee County's inaugural food-rescue campaign, "Donated Not Wasted," successfully diverted 3,771 pounds of food from potential disposal. The unopened food pantry items were donated to Harry Chapin Food Bank and the campaign exceeded the goals by 89 percent.

The campaign, conducted by Lee County Solid Waste in partnership with the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Waste Pro, FOX4, the Lee County Library System and Lee County Parks & Recreation, encouraged seasonal residents and visitors to donate sealed surplus pantry items before returning north.

"We are so grateful for the support of our community and partners. Together, we will provide another 3,143 meals for hungry working families instead of throwing it away," said Richard LeBer, president and CEO of Harry Chapin Food Bank.

The food bank distributed 22.3 million pounds of food-to-food pantries throughout South-west Florida during their last fiscal year.

Nationwide, Americans throw out about 30 percent of the available food supply. In Lee County, 13 percent, or 70,000 tons, of the waste stream is food, according to a 2016 waste audit. Diverting items from final disposal is an important goal.

The county's libraries and recreation centers provided 18 locations and residents responded with enthusiasm. The campaign organizers had hoped to see at least 2,000 pounds of food collected during the campaign, said Pam Keyes, acting director of Lee County Solid Waste.

The campaign partners anticipate making it an annual event.



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