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NFMAA provides meals in wake of Hurricane Irma

September 27, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts served as a shelter when Hurricane Irma blasted the area two weeks ago.

Last week, the school continued to serve the neediest in the area by providing hot meals for families in need.

And if you couldn't get to NFMAA, volunteers brought the food to you.

Article Photos

Stacy Taylor and Debbie Thornton fill a tray held by Pete Froehlich at the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts on Thursday. Volunteers delivered hundreds of meals to people of need throughout the area.

CHUCK BALLARO

On Wednesday and Thursday, nearly 40 volunteers, mostly students, teachers and families at the school, along with the Salvation Army and the Southern Baptist Convention disaster relief efforts, provided hot meals to those who needed them in areas that may still have been affected by the storm.

For those who could make it to NFMAA, they had canned good, toiletries, clothing and other items for those who needed them.

The school, along with several others in Lee County, gave lunch and dinner to these families, mostly in the Suncoast community where residents have a hard time getting out.

Thomas Millins, NFMAA principal, said this was an opportunity to give the community at large a hot meal.

"We were glad to give back to the community. We have people here to just want to provide assistance and help the community," Millins said.

The school has gotten back to normal after serving as a shelter for three days for roughly 1,700 people, which Millins was a part of, registering the guests, who were very much well behaved and complimentary about the building. Millins said.

The school itself sustained exterior damage to the fascia and fallen trees. Afterward, the guests helped with the cleanup efforts before professional crews came in to professionally clean them in preparation for school. which Millins hoped would be Monday.

"It's been a great experience for all of us. We helped the community and we're getting cards and letters from those who stayed at the shelter, thanking us for the service we provided," Millins said.

On Wednesday, the school made more than 500 meals to distribute to the community. On Thursday, they only made about 200.

The volunteers lined up as they were given pulled pork sandwiches, veggies, applesauce and a bottle of water. When the trays were completed, they either brought them to waiting cars or got another tray.

Lynda Lea, of Cape Coral, was one of the volunteers. She said the food had been in their freezer for five days. But with no electricity, it thawed.

"When my daughter told me they were doing this, I said great. It's a godsend because only a few of the churches did this, and they gave out cold meals," Lea said. "I told them I was going to go to the senior center."

Another volunteer was sixth-grader Danica Ferrera, a student at NFMAA. She said her mom made her come, but she was glad she did.

"I love helping people because it makes me feel great about myself. Not a lot of people came yesterday, so we brought a lot of it to them," Ferrera said.

 
 

 

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