Volunteers are needed for Community Cooperative’s 18th annual Sam Galloway, Jr. & Friends Soup Kitchen Benefit on May 6. The event raises money that helps thousands of men, women and children in our community who struggle with hunger and homelessness, and this year’s benefit will be particularly significant since the event’s creator, Sam Galloway, Jr., passed away in March.
It was Galloway, Jr.’s idea to hold a community fundraiser in the service garages of Sam Galloway Ford, creating a unique and highly attended fundraiser. In 2020, the event raised a record $1 million, attracting 700 supporters and 150 volunteers along with nearly 20 area restaurants that contributed to the event’s success. Volunteer shifts on May 6 start at 9 a.m. and run as late as 10 p.m.
“Most people don’t realize the effort it takes just to get the event space ready,” said Stefanie Edwards, chief development and operations officer for Community Cooperative. “Oil changes, tire rotations and other vehicle service is happening in the space in the morning, we transform the space by the evening for the event, and the next morning the service garage is back in full swing, like hundreds of people didn’t have dinner there the night before.”
In addition to helping coordinate the benefit event, volunteers have a role in raising money for Community Cooperative, which during the pandemic served three times more people at mobile food pantries than the prior year.
In 2019, Community Cooperative assisted more than 150,000 Lee County residents, providing nearly 1.3 million pounds of food, serving 231,008 meals to homebound seniors through Meals on Wheels and logging 42,590 volunteer hours.
In 2020, Community Cooperative assisted more than 174,000 individuals, providing more than 2.2 million pounds of emergency food, serving 246,000 meals in the Community Café, delivering 105,000 meals to homebound seniors through Meals on Wheels and logging 34,000 volunteer hours.
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 Tami@CommunityCooperative.com or call 239-332-7687 ext. 125. 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.