There are shelves inside the food bank at Good Neighbor Thrift Store in Navarre that are empty, the supply dwindling down long before it normally does.
That’s why store manager Cheryl Fromularo is so intent on making sure the word gets out about the Stamp Out Hunger campaign in May because food collected from that national drive run by National Association of Letter Carriers, will go a long way in supporting the food bank here over the next year.
Last year, the drive wasn’t nearly as successful as usual because of some glitches. Bags that are left for people to fill weren’t distributed in time and the postcard reminders of the drive went out too early.
“We pulled in about 50 percent less than we did the year before,” Fromularo said. “The push this year is to get the word out because that food drive is so important to the lift of the food bank.”
Fromularo said she attended a meeting in Pensacola last month with people from other area food banks and saw just how on board the post office was with making this year’s drive the most successful yet.
“Everyone is on board with it at the post office,” Fromularo said. “This is their party and they want it to be a success and see the food banks be successful.”
The food bank at Good Neighbor, located at 9205 Navarre Parkway, has time slots open throughout the week for those in need to pick up food. There can be as many as 25 appointments per week, not including those in need who may drop in asking for a little help with groceries.
Right now, it’s a challenge for the food bank to meet the demand. Without donations from smaller food drives and food purchased by employees, there would be even less to give than there already is.
When the food drive rolls around in May, Fromularo is hopeful people will donate what they can.
“It doesn’t matter how much people give. No one is expected to give a full bag,” Fromularo said. “Even if it’s just a couple of cans of vegetables or soup, or boxed dinners, every little bit helps. A little bit of participation from everyone will really help the community out.”
Fromularo said after the food is collected by the mail carriers on that second Saturday in May – the date this year is May 12 – it will be brought back to the post office and volunteers, often a church youth group or the Boy Scouts, will help unload the food from the mail trucks.
The food is then brought to the local food banks and sorted out before the shelves are stocked.
Fromularo is hoping churches, banks and even gas stations will allow them to use their marquees to help promote the food drive.
“We are depending on people filling those bags and helping to make a difference,” Fromularo said.
Good Neighbor is open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. during the week and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Shoppers can find everything from clothing and appliances to toys and books, and all items that are sold are in good condition as only the nicest items are sold in the store.
Good Neighbor’s goal is to meet the needs of the community it serves and is always looking for volunteers who want to take time to do good for others. It’s also counting on the community to step up May 12 and help stamp out hunger.
Good Neighbor Thrift Store
9025 Navarre Parkway
Mon-Fri: 9-4; Sat. 10-2