For this month’s Fill the Pantry fundraiser, Tom’s Club collected various foods for the Harry Chapin Food Bank. While working with numerous local philanthropies, the club offers their help and time to those who need it most. 

“When we first started in 2000, we started off as collecting new and used shoes for students in Collier County then it went a little bit further,” club sponsor Karin Stewart said. “We were collecting items for families who had been vacated from their homes for whatever reason.”

According to Harry Chapin Food Bank, the organization collects donations in five Southwest Florida counties, serving 151,600 residents who struggle to put food on the table. 

“The purpose of Tom’s Club is that it fundraises for the school and certain organizations,” secretary Jessica Salas said. “Last year, for example, we focused on foster care.” 

These services, however, are not limited to only those who struggle with hunger. In previous years prescription glasses were collected for the Lions Club Eye Center, lightly used shoes were collected for Laces of Love and money was collected for breast cancer research. 

“That’s something that our club members enjoy: giving back to our community. We see the results locally and abroad,” Stewart said. “Last year, we did a fundraiser and collected items such as diapers and clothing for children who were in the Southwest Florida foster care system.”

With these annual events, members are able to build a sense of community and learn to develop character by helping to make a change.

“It’s something our members can really put their heart into,” Stewart said.