Courtesy of Coastal Breeze News
Marco Island began its festive holiday season with the Annual Meals of Hope Packaging Event on Saturday morning, November 19th. Close to 500 volunteers gathered in the spirit of this special season to help ensure islanders would provide for those in need of healthy meals over the next several months as we move into 2023 and beyond. Marco Island has become a successful core location for one of these wonderful packaging events over the years, and has grown in the effort to combat hunger here in Collier County.
Packaging events occur throughout Collier County, with Marco Island assisting over the last dozen years or so. That effort, and its continued growth here on Marco, began under the watchful eye of the late Sunrise Rotarian Wayne Purvis. He would kick start the event here on the island, while enlisting the Sunrise, as well as the Noontime Rotary Club and the local Kiwanis Club, in that effort. Since then, numerous other organizations have joined this endeavor.
After Purvis’ passing, fellow Rotarian Neal Snyder and now Rotarian Bill Morris have taken on the roles as “Captain Hope.” The dream lives on helping those in need during these special times.
The packaging event returned again this year to the gymnasium of the Marco Island Charter Middle School. The venue had hosted the event for a number of years, but due to the restrictions brought about because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was shifted to alternative locations.
Year after year, attendees would enjoy the musical presentation pulled together by Kevin Fitzgerald, a good friend of Wayne Purvis. This year, however, his entertaining skills would be absent due to his passing last year in February. “Kevin’s contribution as part of the packaging event helped to bring a great deal of enjoyment to all those that attended,” said Bill Morris, who has chaired the event these last couple of years.
This year, over 200,000 meals were packaged due to the hard work of a number of organizations. Spearheading the efforts were the island’s two Rotarian Clubs, as well as the Kiwanis Club, Marco Island Fire and Police Departments, local schools, churches, fraternal organizations, condo associations, social clubs, businesses, sporting organizations and so many other groups which made up the almost 500 volunteers who worked from 7:30 AM until 11:00 AM on a chilly Saturday morning.
The meal costs come in at 30-cents each, which is how the volunteers can affordably pack thousands of meals in a two-hour packing event and provide those that receive them with nutritious ingredients that are healthy and also taste good.
Prior to the packaging event, the host groups hold numerous “After 5 Events” throughout the year to raise the monies to purchase the materials necessary to sponsor the event. There is no cost for the meals provided to the recipients.
Learn More about Meals of Hope
Looking to feed the hungry in your community? To learn more about Meals of Hope, read more here. To get you or your organization involved in our next meal packing event, fill out our form here. We can’t wait to hear from you!