Community Outreach Against Child Hunger or “C.O.A.C.H” is the brainchild of Sergeant Jackie Garrett and Officer Megan Pate of the Fort Myers Police Department. As part of their involvement with the community policing effort, promoted by Chief Derrick Diggs, the two FMPD members are seeking to reach beyond social communication and take on what they feel is a direct correlation between juvenile crime and delinquency: hunger.
To launch C.O.A.C.H., the officers looked for a school, within Lee County, that had the highest poverty rate (98%) and determined this school was Franklin Park Elementary. To ensure students are not going hungry, C.O.A.C.H. will provide groceries to some needy families that may not be able to provide meals toward the end of the month.
These officers contacted the principal at Franklin Park Elementary, Michelle Freeman, and a partnership flourished. This program could not come to fruition without the cooperation of the school’s administration, local community organizations, businesses, private citizens, churches and other community members.
C.O.A.C.H. seeks to collect donations, both monetary and non-perishable foods, to supply a week of daily dinners for a family of four. This will take place, each month, while Lee County Schools are in session. Their goal is to start with fifty families at an estimated cost of $20 each.
To kick off the campaign there will be a launch party on Friday, September 7, 2018, at Millennial Brewing company on Royal Palm Avenue in downtown Fort Myers from 6 to 8:30 PM.
Attendees are asked to bring non-perishable food items such as peanut butter, jelly, boxed cereal, canned tuna, chicken or meat products, pasta and sauce, canned hearty soups/ stews/chili, etc. to be entered to win door prizes.
The event is open to the public and is free for the whole family.
The event will feature a silent auction with various boat rentals, hotels stays, gift baskets, restaurants and numerous other items. C.O.A.C.H. will be accepting cash, check and credit cards for the silent auction winners. All proceeds from the event and silent auction will help fund the program and benefit Franklin Park Elementary students.
Help the FMPD be proactive and not reactive to child hunger and build trust with the youngest members of our community.