For the last three years, many local residents have contributed to the Harry Chapin/Publix Stuff The Bus LeeTran food drive, donating more than 191,000 pounds of nonperishable food.
The event will be held this Sunday, Sept. 16, at all Lee County Publix stores.
Cashiers, including Laura Carter at the Hancock Bridge Parkway Publix, are now selling prepackaged grocery bags patrons can buy to contribute to the drive, or you can donate whatever you can when you shop.
"It is an important food drive," Carter said. "I've worked during this event many times. It is important because there are a lot of families out there that could use help."
The Harry Chapin Food Bank feeds approximately 30,000 people each month through its network of partner agencies.
"We're proud to be able to give back to our community," said Lee County Transit Director Steve Myers in a prepared statement. "We contribute the vehicles, but it's truly a grassroots effort, with hundreds of volunteers and great partners like Publix."
"This is a critical time of year for donations," said Harry Chapin Food Bank Executive Director Al Brislain. "We count on the LeeTran food drive to sustain us until the holiday giving season begins."
He noted that the food bank distributed 15 million pounds of food during the past year.
"The need is still increasing. With our mobile food pantry, we're now able to reach out to people who can't get to a regular food pantry or soup kitchen. These people are often in dire straits, and we're literally their lifeline."
The goal this year is 100,000 pounds of food. The drive will be held at all 34 Lee County Publix stores from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Publix locations in Lee County have participated in the Stuff the Bus campaign with LeeTran and Harry Chapin Food Bank for several years and we are so grateful for the continued support of our customers and associates," said Shannon Patten, Publix media and community relations manager. "Harry Chapin Food Bank is truly committed to helping those less fortunate in our community and we are proud to contribute to their efforts."
In other local Publix news, officials said the new Publix store at the Shoppes at Del Prado on U.S.41 in North Fort Myers is scheduled to open mid-October.