Blessings in a Backpack to distribute food to children at First Florida Integrity Bank branches

The generosity of the Southwest Florida community continues to flow as Blessings in a Backpack SWFL will now be able to distribute packaged meals to 500 more children on Fridays in Collier County starting Friday, May 1. Thanks to the kindness of First Florida Integrity Bank, two of their Naples branches will be used as distribution points for 200 packaged meals from 12 – 4 p.m. This after Blessings received a $10,000 donation from the bank to feed a total of 500 more school children across the county.

Management at the bank contacted Blessings in a Backpack Executive Director Cecilia St. Arnold recently, knowing Blessings needed to feed more children in Collier County during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because the bank stepped up with the $10,000 donation, Blessings will now be able to feed close to 1,000 children in the Naples area.

The surprising donation became even more overwhelming to St. Arnold when the bank offered the use of two of its Naples branches as distribution points for 200 meals. The branches are located at: 895 5th Ave. South and 3560 Kraft Rd. “Typically, the food is distributed at area schools, but due to the current health crisis, the bank has generously offered use of these branches as distribution locations,” St. Arnold said. “This is something that has never happened before. We are thrilled that First Florida Integrity Bank has stepped in to feed the kids.”

Responding to the tremendous demand for food as families struggle because of the coronavirus, Blessings in a Backpack of Southwest Florida is partnering with several organizations to provide meals at several locations throughout Southwest Florida.

In addition to the meal distributions at the bank branches on Fridays, the weekend meal packages from Blessings in a Backpack will be available from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fridays at the following locations:

● Shadowlawn Elementary, 2161 Shadowlawn Dr., Naples

● Colonial Elementary, 3800 Schoolhouse Road E., Fort Myers.

● James Stephens International Academy, 1333 Marsh Ave., Fort Myers

● San Carlos Park Elementary, 17282 Lee Road, Fort Myers

● Bonita Springs Elementary, 10701 Dean St., Bonita Springs

● Harlem Heights Community Charter School, 15570 Hagie Dr., Fort Myers

● Tice Elementary, 4524 Tice St., Fort Myers

● Boys & Girls Club of Lee County, Fort Myers, 7275 Concourse Dr., Suite 200

● Boys and Girls Club of Lee County, Lehigh Acres, 1262-1260 Wings Way

● Boys and Girls Club of Lee County, Pueblo Bonito, Bonita Springs, 26120 Pueblo Bonito Blvd.

● Boys and Girls Club of Collier County, 7500 Davis Blvd., Naples, (Distribution times TBA)

● Boys and Girls Club of Collier County, 1155 Roberts Ave. W., Immokalee, (Distribution on Tuesdays)

Families are going hungry during these extraordinary and critical times and donations are needed more than ever. Tax-deductible donations are urgently needed to meet the growing hunger needs of school-aged children. Every $4 donation feeds one child per weekend, providing four packaged meals. A $100 donation will feed a child for one full school year. To make a donation, go to blessingsinswfl.org.

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This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.