Pine Island postal carriers, as well as a local Boy Scout Troop, delivered the goods for the Pine Island Food Pantry during its annual food drive.
The carriers collected more than 5,000 pounds of food for the pantry this year, exceeding last year by more than 800 pounds, while the scouts of Troop No. 20 helped sort, separate and store the non-perishable food items with the help of the pantry's nearly 40 volunteers.
The food, which consisted of canned goods, pasta and cake mixes, will help the shelter get through the summer months, according to Dave Greuser, president of the food pantry.
Volunteer workers stand with a box of
collected food from the recent Postal Carriers drive on Pine Island.
"This is the third or fourth year they've done this. We've been getting food on the island to keep on the island," Greuser said. "The people here are so generous and they support the pantry."
Greuser said the mail carriers had a monumental task of picking up food, on top of their other duties. The volunteers were glad to help.
"Our volunteers have gone into neighborhoods ahead of the carriers to relieve the stress on them," Greuser said. "We meet them at certain locations or at the pantry and unload the food for them."
The Boy Scouts also played a big role, Greuser said, by doing much of the grunt work and having it done by nightfall.
"We have a lot of older volunteers, and those boys muscled all that food, unloading the cars as they came in," Greuser said. "Those kids really worked. They unloaded 5,000 pounds of food, took it in and distributed them and boxed and taken to the storage area."
The Pine Island Food Pantry opened about 20 years ago, when the food pantries of the area's churches consolidated to form one big pantry, Greuser said.
The pantry is operated by volunteers and serves the Pine Island and greater Matlacha area. It receives support from Winn-Dixie and Panera Bread, and purchases food from Harry Chapin Food Bank.
The pantry is available to all who need help and qualify. In 2012, the pantry served 1,820 families and 5,037 clients.
It is open Mondays and Thursdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and is located in the Life Center of the Catholic Church.
"It's a wonderful thing these people do out here. This is unbelievable. We would be in dire straits without this," Greuser said.