Dear friends:




Feeding the hungry
It’s hard not to keep coming back when Galloway “has a heart full of gold,” he said. “People respect Sam, they respect the organization and donors keep coming back,” he said. “We believe in this mission and will support it as long as we can.” The money raised has been poured into innovative projects including the Everyday Café and Marketplace, the backpack and school pantry programs for elementary school children and their families, said Meghan Madden, division director of food innovation. “We have helped bring dignity in the fight against hunger,” she said. Last year’s event sold out with more than 600 guests. The goal of this annual benefit is to raise as much money as possible for local residents in need. Private donations and grants are critical for CCMI to sustain its mission for the foreseeable future. “We are all feeling the effects of this economy,” Galloway said. “But not doing anything for our local neighbors in need is not an option for me, and I can guarantee anyone who attends this event is truly making a difference.”

ommunity Cooperative Ministries Inc. celebrates Sam Galloway and Friends 10th Annual Soup Kitchen Benefit in March. It’s a significant milestone for the organization and for Galloway, who has been a Hunger Fighter for almost three decades. He founded the Soup Kitchen in 1984, and has been a strong and steady voice for those in need ever since. But he’s not interested in taking the credit. He is grateful for the team at CCMI and the profound support he’s received from the community. “This is our 10th year of dear friends and businesses joining together to help those less fortunate in our community,” Galloway said. “I wish we didn’t have to hold this event any longer and that hunger was not an issue in our community. Unfortunately, it is still a serious problem. More of our neighbors and their children are going to need our help, and I plan to help them.” Steve Shimp, retired company president of OwenAmes-Kimball has supported Galloway’s mission for many years and has attended the Soup Kitchen Benefit since its inception.

Sam galloway and friendS 10th annual Soup kitchen benefit »

• WHEN: March 5. Cocktails at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Maestro Andrew Kurtz will be conducting the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra performing Broadway show-stoppers. • WHERE: Sam Galloway Ford dealership at 1800 Boy Scout Drive, Fort Myers. • COST: Tax-deductible sponsorship opportunities and tables are available starting at $2,500. Individual tickets are $150 each. • FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TICKETS: Visit or call CCMI at 239-332-7687, ext. 100.

elcome to the inaugural issue of Food For Thought. I am so proud of this newsletter and what it represents for CCMI. When I joined CCMI as CEO just over one year ago, I knew I joined an organization full of innovation, ingenuity and heart. The team at CCMI is such a strong force in the face of such great need in our community. We see uncertainty and strain on the faces of the thousands of clients we serve daily. But our staff and board are continually heartened and invigorated by the generosity, resourcefulness and tenacity of the thousands of Hunger Fighters who donate their time and treasures to those in crisis. This newsletter is filled with stories of hope and inspiration. We highlight one of our oldest and most dedicated volunteers, Eunice Bremner, who has helped feed those in need for more than 30 years. We are lucky to have other volunteers, like Sara Leone, share her coupon clipping expertise with our clients, and Craig Vough, create chalk masterpieces for our preschool TRACEY GAllOWAY students. Chief Executive Officer In every newsletter, we will profile a few members of our talented staff. In this edition we shine the light on Shelly Coakley, who creates healthy and nutritious meals for customers at the Everyday Café. We also applaud Kaysy Williams, who uses her own personal experience with homelessness and rejection to coach clients who struggle with the same challenges. We are excited about our 10th Annual Soup Kitchen Benefit and grateful to all of the people who continue to make it happen. Monies raised at events like the Soup Kitchen Benefit help us fund innovative strategies and programs to increase our fight against hunger. We keep fighting because the need does not diminish. More than 70 percent of students in the Lee County Public School District are enrolled in free or reduced meals. Hundreds of elementary school children rely on our backpack and school pantry programs so they do not go hungry on the weekends. Together we are making a difference. If you are a member of the CCMI family, we thank you for your commitment. If you are not, please consider helping us reach our goal of reducing – and one day eliminating – hunger.

FOOD FOR thought
hunger fighters

unice Bremner doesn’t know how long she’s been helping with Meals on Wheels. The 93-year-old Fort Myers volunteer doesn’t really care. She just wants to make sure people get fed. “I enjoy it very much,” Eunice said. Once a week, Eunice and her nurse Helen noah, 73, drive around Dunbar delivering a small portion of the 400 Meals on Wheels served every day Monday through Friday by CCMI. The two women know the names of everyone along their route. Helen delivers food to the door and Eunice gives an encouraging smile and wave. “Eunice is a very faithful volunteer,” said Tracey Galloway, CEO of CCMI. “She’s


been volunteering for more than 30 years.” And she has no plans to slow down. Besides packing up coolers with freshlymade, hot nutrious meals, Eunice and Helen bring extra goodies for the people they have come to care about. “We give them treats,” Helen said. “you have no idea how this lights up their face.” Everyone lights up when they see Eunice and Helen pull into their driveway. “I couldn’t do without it,” said Joyce Bird, who lives next to her disabled mother. They can afford to go to the grocery store only once a month so the supplemental food helps them tremendously, she said. That’s what it’s all about, Eunice said. “We’ll keep coming back as long as they need us,” she said.


Above, Eunice Bremner is the oldest volunteer at CCMI. The 93-year-old has been volunteering for more than 30 years. • Left, Joyce Bird receives a Meals on Wheels delivery from helen Noah. Bird relies on the meals throughout the week for her mother and pets.

“We give them treats.You have no idea how this lights up their face.” —HeleN NoaH
Each bike will be made street legal. Lights, locks and identification will be given to each rider. CCMI will provide a letter to a client in need of a bike as a “voucher.”  “Those in need of transportation are typically the most vulnerable in our community and lack the most resources,” said roger C. Mercado Jr., division director, social services & education for CCMI.  “There is a big difference between walking five miles to work and riding five miles to work.” Future bike workshops will be held quarterly at CCMI. Bike donations are still needed. Call Jo Ellen Keller, education innovation team leader at 239-332-7687 ext. 116 or email at joellen@ccmilee for more information.
Dan Moser, left, program director for Florida Bicycle Association and bicycle education instructor, helps a CCMI client get new lights and safety equipment for his bike at a recent bike clinic.

BIKE mission

he community has banded together to equip CCMI clients with bikes. Fort Myers Schwinn, Lee County EMS, CCMI, Lee County Homeless Coalition, rotary South and BB&T-OTC sponsor quarterly bike clinics. The next clinic, which takes place in April, will include presentations about bike safety, rules of the road and how to fix a flat tire. It will also offer free bike accessories that riders can get fitted on their bikes. CCMI has also partnered with Helping Hands Bike Ministry. All donated bikes for CCMI clients will be tagged and housed at the ministry. Billy and Salli Kirkland, the owners of Billy’s Bike Rentals of Sanibel, donated more Only clients who need the bikes for employthan 50 bikes from their rental inventory for adults and families to CCMI last December. ment and complete eight hours of community Delivering the bikes to both CCMI locations in Cape Coral and Fort Myers, Billy’s Bike Rentals provided 22 adult bikes, 20 service will get them. kids’ bikes, 12 trailer bikes, 10 child bike seats, saddles and helmets.


bountiful bikeS »

CCMI worked with its current group of social-service clients to determine which adults and children were in need of bikes.

CMI provides emergency food to more than 450 children and their families in our community through a weekend backpack program at Treeline Elementary School in Fort Myers and Skyline Elementary School in Cape Coral. More than 200 families also participate in school pantry programs in Bonita Springs and Lehigh Elementary schools. Community volunteers fill backpacks for teachers to hand out to students each Friday and help distribute food at on-site school pantries each week. The additional food – sent home in backpacks on Friday – helps students get the food they need so they are ready to learn Monday morning.

Filling up


About 70 percent of all children in Lee County Schools are now eligible for free or reduced lunch. In the hardest hit areas, rates are as high as 98 percent. “The backpack program continues to be necessary and is our only means of getting some students help,” said Meghan Madden, division director of food innovation. “The school pantry program requires the parents or grandparents in many cases to come pick up the food. This creates an opportunity to interact with the parents to find out what’s going on, how our program is impacting them, how we can improve it and what other needs might be there that we can help address.”

The Backpack Program targets schools with more remote populations of families who would not be able to access an on-site school pantry. Backpacks are sent home with students on Fridays and returned on Mondays and offer a discreet method of delivering food to students.



how to SponSor a food drive»

Sponsoring a food drive is a simple and direct way to give to those in need. here is the best way to begin:
» Contact our volunteer services to schedule a tour of CCMI’s Everyday Café and Marketplace or request a guest speaker to come to your neighborhood or place of employment. » Choose a coordinator who is responsible for communicating with CCMI staff. » Make sure your corporation, church, school or organization’s top management has endorsed your food drive and will do everything they can to help promote, organize and run it. » Select a start date that gives you plenty of time for planning and organizing as well as a realistic end date that gives enough time to market the food drive. A successful and well organized food drive can easily be conducted within one week! For more information contact or 239-332-7687 ext. 112.


ometimes people struggle with the choice between feeding themselves and feeding their animals. But thanks to a $2,500 grant from Banfield Charitable Trust, CCMI’s Meals On Wheels program doesn’t require its clients to make that kind of agonizing choice. The grant enables CCMI to provide pet food to low-income clients who are not able to access or afford the food on their own. The pet food is delivered weekly. “For many of our clients, their pets are their family,” said Laura Meyer, director of food outreach for CCMI. “This is a real blessing for those who struggle and don’t want to lose their beloved pets.” The Meals On Wheels program at CCMI is part of a national initiative started by the Meals On Wheels Association of America called We All Love Our Pets or WALOP. This national initiative seeks to unite Meals On Wheels programs across the country in their efforts to keep clients and their pets well nourished. “Anyone who has ever shared their life with a pet understands that keeping a pet healthy is very important,” Laura said. For more information or to donate, call 239-332-7687 ext. 112.

hunter Kemmerer, a U.S. Marine, volunteers for the pet food program while on leave.

We need you. Our community needs you. Please consider volunteering. We recognize that our volunteers have busy schedules and other commitments. We work with each volunteer to arrange a day and time of the week that fits in with our volunteer needs and the volunteer’s schedule. We are grateful for whatever time someone can devote to us. Please feel free to call volunteer services if you have any questions or are interested in volunteering: 239-332-0441.

Join our volunteer family »


FOOD FOR thought
It takes a village to feed our neighbors and area groups are doing their part. Students at Cape Coral’s Island Coast High School Academy of natural resources are making sure fresh fish gets delivered to CCMI. Since Island Coast’s Aquaponics program began in 2007, students have harvested thousands of pounds of tilapia. A percentage of the tilapia goes straight into the kitchen at the Everyday Café where it is seasoned and sauced and offered to those who don’t regularly eat fresh fish. And there is more fresh food to go with the fish. north Fort Myers-based ECHO, the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, Lakes regional Park in south Fort Myers, and roots Heritage Garden in Fort Myers have provided garden fruits and vegetables as well. “Being able to offer fresh food is so important,” said Meghan Madden, CCMI food innovation and team leader. “The more fresh food, fresh fruit and vegetables we can offer, the more health benefits we can offer our clients.”


what’S cooking the next month:heating up inside the » Things are Everyday Café. here is what’s on the menu for

• Curried chicken, Mexican fiesta rice, black beans and corn casserole • Stuffed salmon in dill sauce, Brussel sprouts • Turkey & rice bake, raisin stuffing, peaches • Rosemary lemon white fish, grits, cauliflower • Country Fried Steak, broccoli and sweet potato


stirring it up
helly Coakley knows her way around a kitchen. The former director of food operations at Edison State College has worked with food for more than 20 years. She brings a fresh perspective to the Everyday Café – literally. Shelly has taken a sophisticated culinary approach to cooking for clients since she became Food Programs Manager in June 2012. “We no longer fry it and put gravy on it,” Shelly said. “We add a lot more nutritional components to the menu including fresh, local produce, and herbs and seasonings to create balanced meals.” Diners are slowly getting accustomed to new menu items like goulash with stewed tomatoes, chicken spinach bake and rosemary lemon white fish with cauliflower. “It’s like teaching your family to eat healthy after they’ve eaten pizza their whole life,” she said. But it’s more than food that keeps her


engaged. She knows she’s making a difference. “A lot of people we see eat one meal a day,” she said. “The fresh ingredients contribute to their overall health and wellness. It makes them feel better.” The people who pass through the Everyday Café are getting a highly nutritious meal, she said. “It’s a change in wellness for the whole community and a vision for better eating,” she said.

Roots heritage Garden contributes organic produce for CCMI’s Meals on Wheels program.

hot meals delivered by Meals on Wheels

60,000 weekend backpacks for hungry students
meals served annually

52,700 hours worked
miles driven by MOW volunteers


by the numbers 2012


unduplicated customers served

80,000 at Everyday Café


veryone wants to save money and Sara Leone found an easy way to do it. Last year, she created a coupon challenge to prove to her boss that the company could boost business by generating a coupon website. She launched “My Coupon Experiment” on Facebook with a goal of making $500 at a garage sale and using coupons to double the money and donate the food to Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. She raised $638.87 at her garage sale and used her coupons to purchase $1,410.39 worth of groceries. now the single mom teaches a free class every Friday at the United Way House in Cape Coral for people interested in stretching their budget. The website: is thriving and her students are saving hundreds of dollars a month. She also writes a blog on the website that offers tips and coupons. “Every time I shop I can’t wait to get my hands on the receipt,” she said. “It takes time and effort but it really pays off. you will change the way you shop.” Sparkle Simmons, a single mom who was working and going to school, was having a difficult time stretching her


COUPOn clipping COACH




budget until she began attending coupon classes. recently she purchased $100 worth of food for $35 using coupons. “As I drove home I was smiling so wide my cheeks hurt,” she said. “I wanted to call everyone I knew and tell them to check out this class and website. I haven’t been able to bring home that many groceries at one time in several years. I had been afraid of not being able to make ends meet, of not being able to feed my

family but now because of Sara’s class, I know I can make it.” These stories are rewarding for Sara. She estimates that 500 people have attended her classes and together, they have saved at least $10,000 on their grocery bills. “This is something everyone can relate to and it’s a choice everyone can make,” Sara said. And she makes sure she shares the message loud and clear. “Friends don’t let friends pay full price.”

to go » WHERE: United Way house, 1105 Cultural Park Boulevard, Cape Coral. • WHEN: Every Friday at 10 a.m.
• COST: Free • More information: Email or call 239-332-7687.

their World




is name is Craig Vough but some people call him “Chalk Boy.” Every month, Craig creates a chalk wonderland of color and shapes in front of The Community Montessori School in Fort Myers. His large chalk drawings include jungles, rain forests, coral reefs, barn animals, ocean life, flowers and “the kids will more. “Most people think a kid did ask me how it,” he said. “But it’s a big kid.” I did it. they Craig, 54, a volunteer from Lehigh Acres, has been drawlike to look at ing with chalk at the preschool for the past six months. the animals.” “The kids will ask me how — CraIG vouGH I did it,” he said. “They like to look at the animals.” Craig, a computer technician, has been creating colorful chalk paintings since he was a kid at family picnics. now, he shares that talent with CCMI and his church, Trinity Lutheran Church in Gateway. “It’s very creative,” he said. “Chalking is one thing that I do that most other people don’t do.”

he Cape Coral Community Foundation awarded CCMI a $10,000 grant to support the agency’s social-service programs at the Everyday Café and Marketplace. The funding will help CCMI support and manage a Cape Café Concierge Program that will connect the Cape Coral café, marketplace and walk-in clients with their requested services. It will also provide follow-up assistance to Meals on Wheels seniors. “The Cape Coral Community Foundation has been very pleased with the efforts of CCMI and its provided services in Cape Coral,” said Executive Director Beth Sanger. “Grants to CCMI not only help those in need, but we are confident our funds are being used in the most cost effective manner. We cannot thank the CCMI team enough for their outstanding work for the residents of Cape Coral and are truly grateful to consider the agency a strategic partner for improving the lives of our residents.”  The Café Concierge Program provides vital client support to the social service programs, Meals On Wheels and The Everyday Café and Marketplace. The café concierge acts as the gatekeeper at the Everyday Café and United Way House’s front door, providing clients with service triage in order to help them most efficiently access the appropriate services. The concierge also manages the client traffic flow, agency phone calls and Meals On Wheels follow-up, resulting in increased safety, more effective service and improved client outcomes.  The Cape Coral Community Foundation is a tax-exempt charitable organization created through gifts by many generous community-minded individuals.


“Grants to CCMI not only help those in need, but we are confident our funds are being used in the most cost effective manner.”

exeCutIve DIreCtor BetH SaNGer

FOOD FOR thought
overheard on valentine’s day
Children from The Community Montessori School, CCMI’s early childhood program, speak their minds

macey, 3

how do you show someone you love them? “Give them a hug.”

Sandler, 4

amazing grace
aysy Williams knows what it means to struggle. The Fort Myers 28-year-old has faced and overcome tremendous adversity. Kaysy’s parents died of AIDS when she was in elementary school. Her classmates thought they might also get AIDS if they touched her so she spent much of her childhood feeling alone. But she promised her mother that she would be the first person in the family to go to college. She was 12 years old and never missed a day of school after she made her promise. She graduated from high school and received a scholarship to Edison State College. At 18, she began a relationship and had to leave her grandmother’s home. She worked at McDonald’s and her boyfriend worked at Burger King. She knew she had to go to college but she had no place to live. So, for the next two years they lived in her car. They showered at gas stations


What does love mean to you?

“It means my heart is brave.”


layla, 4

Who do you love?

“I love my family! I love my dad, my mom, my brothers, and the baby in my mommy’s tummy.”

and parked overnight in Lehigh Acres. Sometimes the mosquitoes would cover her body in bites. During that time, she was diagnosed with diabetes and turned to CCMI for a medical referral, food and clothing assistance. “no one at school knew,” she said about her homelessness. “I was ashamed.” But she shared her story during a speech at graduation. If she could do get an associate’s degree, she knew other students could do it. “you need to be somebody and you need to give back,” she told her classmates. She went on to get her bachelor’s degree in social work at Florida Gulf Coast University and is pursuing her master’s degree at Barry University. Kaysy has succeeded in accomplishing the goals she shared with others. She was hired as a Case Coach at CCMI in 2010 and serves a variety of clients with a wide range of needs. But Kaysy feels like she understands all of them.

“I know where they are coming from,” she said. “If they are coping with a parent death, disease, homelessness, or unemployment, I understand. Sometimes I know what to say and sometimes I know when there is nothing to say.” And everyone at CCMI appreciates Kaysy’s gifts, including Tracey Galloway, who first met her at Edison State College. “She lit up a room and was always so positive,” said Galloway, CEO of CCMI. “After losing touch with her for a couple of years I was so pleased to find her on my staff when I joined CCMI last year. I can’t begin to explain how fulfilling it is to see that struggling 18-year-old college kid transform into a successful, educated, married career woman.” Kaysy believes her experiences led her to the right place. “I love my job,” she said. “I know I’m giving back. I had nobody and to know that I can do that for somebody is amazing. It’s priceless.”

Dean Chavis, Chairman • Joe Catti, Vice Chairman • Katie haas, Secretary • Wayne Kirkwood • John Klaas, Sr. • Craig Peden • Steve Shimp • Guy Whitesman • Penny Wilkinson • Chairman Emeritus, Sam Galloway, Jr. • HONORARy LIFETIME DIRECTORS: • Sybil Edgar • helen Fallert • Rev. Richard Grady • Christine larson • John McGee

ccmi board of directorS »

Summer drive for hunger»

Sam Galloway Ford teamed up with CCMI to raise 10,000 pounds of food and $25,000.

about ccmi »

holiday bleSSingS »
A thankful family from CCMI’s case coaching program smiles with gratitude after receiving Christmas gifts from a generous donor.

Every year Buckingham Exceptional School students create laminated placemats for our customers during the holidays.

perSonal placematS »

Community Cooperative Ministries Inc. (CCMI) was incorporated in 1984, and has been providing food to the hungry and homeless for almost 30 years. CCMI is dedicated to ending hunger in Lee County by providing nutritious meals, groceries, quality early childhood education, social and referral services, case coaching and education for the homeless, homebound seniors, working poor, children and frail in our community. The populations we serve have been identified as some of the neediest in Lee County.


Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. P.O. Box 2143 Fort Myers, Florida 33902-3429


rotary gift »

Volunteer Pat Schmidt stands in front of a commercial refrigerator purchased through a grant from the Rotary Club of Fort Myers.

3429 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Fort Myers, Florida 33916

1105 Cultural Park Blvd. Cape Coral, Florida 33990

« team triathlon

The second year of the Galloway Captiva Tri was an even bigger success than the first. This amazing swim, bike, run event was sold out and raised $15,000 for CCMI.

239-332-7687 (SOUP)

Imagine how much good could be done if each one of us remembered a favorite charity or cause in our will or estate plan. When you create or revise your estate plans, we hope you will consider including

leaving a legacy
specific property, or a portion of your entire estate. you may also designate whether the gift is to be used for specific purposes. Whatever you decide, your caring and compassion will touch many lives. A remembrance of CCMI in your will – large or small – is very much appreciated! To learn more about planned giving, contact Barbara Wells at 239-332-7687 at ext. 110.

CCMI among your beneficiaries. you may make a gift through your will or living trust by including specific language outlining your support for CCMI. you may designate a specific amount, a

P.O. BOx 2143 • FORT MYERS, FlORIDA • 33902

239.332.SOUP (7687) |