Community Cooperative is asking Southwest Florida to help neighbors in need by providing a holiday meal or gifts.

The annual drive to brighten the holidays starts with the Full Plates Project, to make sure there are no plates empty this Thanksgiving. The drive offers the opportunity to donate food, host a food drive or donate $50 to sponsor a family Thanksgiving basket. Baskets include a 10 to 15-pound turkey, canned corn, dessert mix, boxed mashed potatoes, canned fruit, disposable turkey roasting pan, stuffing mix, boxed cornbread/muffin mix, canned yams, green beans, can/jar gravy. Community Cooperative hopes to get 3,000 turkeys for efforts this year.
All items need to be delivered by 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19 to be distributed to families during Thanksgiving week, but can be dropped off starting immediately.

In addition, volunteers are needed to put together kits for the Great Stuffing Project. Community Cooperative repurposes stale bread by cutting it into chunks, baking it and packaging it in a kit with spices and a recipe for mobile food pantry clients.

“We are always trying to make the best use of the food that is donated to support our clients,” said Stefanie Edwards, CEO of Community Cooperative. “When we realized we could make use of stale bread to create stuffing kits, it was an opportunity to add some homemade warmth to our food distributions.”

Community Cooperative has been creating stuffing kits for four years with a recipe created by the Community Cooperative chefs. Volunteers typically create 1,500 kits each year.
Additional holiday outreach includes:
• Adopt-a-Senior where supporters are paired with senior clients through the Meals on Wheels program to provide a gift to be distributed by Meals on Wheels close to Christmas
• Adopt-a-Family where supporters are matched with families that need gifts for children.
“There are always opportunities to bring holiday cheer to the clients we serve by donating food or monetary donations to Community Cooperative,” Edwards said. “We look for ways to match donors and volunteers with the needs of the community.”
Deadline for the December adoption programs is Dec. 17.

To see support opportunities, to donate or volunteer, visit communitycooperative.com or call 239-332-7687 ext. 101.

About Community Cooperative
For 37 years, Community Cooperative has worked to effectively eliminate hunger and homelessness in Lee County while simultaneously inspiring and supporting sustained positive change in its clients by delivering innovative food, education and social service programs. With a dedicated team of volunteers, board of directors and staff, Community Cooperative stays committed to its core responsibility to collect and distribute resources through a strong and viable network of community partners. Community Cooperative is an exemplary steward of the resources entrusted to it and serves clients with compassion and integrity. Through collaboration and ongoing education, Community Cooperative supports and strengthens those whose lives have been affected by hunger and homelessness, ensuring that they have access to the resources necessary to transform their lives with dignity. For more resources and information on how to get involved, contact Stefanie Edwards at Stefanie@communitycooperative.com or call (239) 332-7687. Monetary donations are always welcomed and can be made directly at www.CommunityCooperative.com, or mailed to: Community Cooperative, P.O. Box 2143, Fort Myers, FL 33902.