Today Not In My City is launching a major collaborative effort between churches, businesses and schools to collect at least 600,000 pounds of food and raise thousands of dollars to help more than 4,000 Lee County school children with emergency food assistance through 2013.
"The big push today is to double the emergency food assistance program done through Community Cooperative Ministries Inc. (CCMI) and our local schools," said Chad Woolf, director of Not In My City. "We're working with local churches such as First Assembly West, Grace Church, Cape Christian Fellowship, who is a main sponsor, and more. Our two main business sponsors are Schooner Bay Realty and Allied Physical Therapy."
Since its inception, Not In My City has provided tens of thousands of dollars in emergency food assistance, school supplies and material support to teachers in the classroom through its partnerships with local churches in Southwest Florida.
"We launched as an organization in 2011," Woolf said. "We exist to change lives by helping churches move their people into action by meeting real needs in the local community."
About 40 churches and their volunteer forces have become involved, he said. And they are strengthening relationships with business partners, and the day is more about awareness, he said.
Currently about 90 percent of the food is given to children in backpacks to take home over weekends.
"I think this means an opportunity for them to meet what some families cannot meet; not be able to provide at this time with the economy," said Lee County School Board Chairwoman Mary Fischer. "Because of the backpack projects, having food on weekend keeps many children from going hungry. Hungry kids are not healthy kids and unhealthy kids are not able to learn. This is an amazing partnership in helping our students."
The awareness campaign will be held at Skyline Elementary.
"This has been going on at Skyline for several years, and now there will be expansion to other schools," Fischer said. "It truly is a blessing for our students and their families."
"What Not In My City is doing is trying to bring together multiple partners in Southwest Florida - including businesses, schools and churches, in an unprecedented collaboration between public and private entities to create a sustainable source of emergency food in Southwest Florida," said CCMI CEO Tracey Galloway.
The need is exponentially outpacing their ability to serve the need, she added.
"It is a collaboration from churches, businesses and private individuals whose mission is to help and vision to work with local charities who have a like-minded vision, like CCMI," she said. "This will be a sustainable and positive change for families who are struggling."
"It's very important to us as a business to give back to the community. Working with Not In My City to rally business owners in Cape Coral is just one way we can contribute to the long-term success of our city," said Tad Yeatter, owner and broker of Schooner Bay Realty in Cape Coral in a prepared statement.
"The Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral supports efforts like 'Not in My City' as they nurture and support those members in our community who are in need," said Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce Director Mike Quaintance. "These efforts improve the quality of life for all."
CCMI is currently working with four Title I schools, and hopes this campaign will greatly expand that number.
For information, go to feedingswfl.com or call 772-5683.