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Pine Island Winn Dixie, Food Pantry teaming up for the holidays

By Staff | Oct 8, 2021

Starting this week, Winn Dixie will be offering $10 bags at the cash registers, containing holiday fixings. PHOTO PROVIDED

Winn Dixie is partnering with the Pine Island Food Pantry to host a Food Drive in preparation for the holidays, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The goal is to raise $5,000 in food and monetary donations to fill the pantry shelves and prepare for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday meal programs.

Last year, the Food Pantry prepared and handed out almost 100 Thanksgiving and 100 Christmas meals for families in need on the island. Starting this week, Winn Dixie will be offering $10 bags at the cash registers, containing holiday fixings, including canned green beans, corn, broth, cranberry sauce, potatoes, muffins and a box dessert to start filling the Food Pantry’s holiday bags.

The Pine Island Food Pantry plans to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to families who reside in the Pine Island and Matlacha area again this year. Pre-signups started this week at the Food Pantry and a flyer will be sent out through Pine Island Elementary School mid-October. Each meal will include the client’s choice of a turkey, pork roast, ham or chicken, along with all the traditional fixings, such as green beans and corn, broth, cream soup, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, muffins, and a dessert. Meal pick up will be available during the two weeks before each holiday.

The day of the food drive, Saturday, Oct. 9, all of these items, along with everyday items to fill the shelves, will be available to purchase throughout and in the front of the store. The Fire Department will be on hand to help out and entertainment is planned. We will be running 50/50s throughout the day and raffling off a 2.6 cubic foot Danby Free Standing Beverage Center with a glass front.

“We’re happy to help the community with this food drive. It’s important to utilize our resources to make sure no one goes without eating. Hopefully, this will help the Food Pantry stock up for the holidays,” said Pine Island Winn Dixie store manager Dan Loughren.

“Client visits have started increasing in recent weeks, which we expect to continue through the holidays. The Food Pantry is very thankful to Winn Dixie for their wonderful support, and the Pine Island Elks National Foundation for a generous grant to purchase meat for the holiday meal bags. Dan Loughren, Winn Dixie store manager, has been a great help, providing the Food Pantry with large case quantities of fixings needed for this season’s holiday bags, and has agreed to store the holiday meat until needed. By purchasing the holiday product and meat from Winn-Dixie, supporters can be assured that their donations will stay on the island, to take care of our own,” said Food Pantry Executive Director Karen Durand.

The Pine Island Food Pantry is open on Mondays and Thursdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the Life Center of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church, 12175 Stringfellow Road, Bokeelia. Holiday meal sign up for Thanksgiving and Christmas began Oct. 4. Food amounts are distributed by family size and ages. Identification is required to verify residency in our service area. New clients are welcome. Masks are strongly recommended.

The Food Pantry, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, serves the Pine Island and the greater Matlacha area and is operated by an all-volunteer staff. All donations go to those in need in order to fulfill our mission of, “no one goes hungry” on the island. We are indebted to all of our island partners and our friends at Winn Dixie and Harry Chapin for ensuring food is available for all. Visit the pantry website at pineislandfoodpantry.org for more information or to donate online.