Donate, don’t waste when you head north: Lee County third annual food rescue campaign begins

March 21, 2021
By Marcy Shortuse

To the Editor,
Lee County Solid Waste’s third annual “Donated not Wasted” food rescue campaign encourages seasonal residents and visitors to donate unopened pantry items before returning north. The two previous campaigns resulted in 6,000 pounds of food diverted from potential disposal – enough to provide 5,000 meals to hungry people. Nationwide, Americans throw out 30 to 40 percent of the available food supply. In Lee County, food waste accounts for 13 percent, or 70,000 tons, of the local waste stream, according to a 2016 audit.
Since the onset of COVID-19, the need for food has increased dramatically. Last year the Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed 32.4 million pounds of food. Now, they are distributing nearly 1 million pounds a week and feeding a quarter of a million people a month.
People can drop off unopened canned or dry goods from now through April 5 at the Johann Fust Community Library.
For more information, visit leegov.com/solidwaste or call (239) 533-8000.
Tim Engstrom, Lee County Public Information
Fort Myers