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Food drive looks to put the Smackdown on hunger

July 23, 2014
By Chuck Ballaro ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Someone's going down! And it's hunger.

Four organizations will meet at Dixie Roadhouse Thursday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in a four-way battle to determine which one best gives the knockout punch to hunger.

The annual Cape Coral Caring Center's SOS (Save Our Summer) Feed the Cape Smackdown will bring the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, Rotaries and Dixie Roadhouse together, where they will encourage their respective teams to bring the most donations (money or food).

The team that brings in the most contributions will wear the championship belt and get a $250 prize to throw a party.

Julie Ferguson, executive director of the Caring Center, said the shelves get pretty barren after dozens of area families get what they need.

"We get incredibly busy during the summer and donations tend to go down, so we really try to bump them up and make people aware of those in Cape Coral when they're in need," Ferguson said. "We're encouraging everyone to get together so we can have lots of donations."

Ferguson said she met with Lynn Pippinger of Dixie Roadhouse and said it would be great to turn it into a competition. Chris Spiro of Spiro & Associates, which sponsors the SOS program, suggested the "Smackdown" concept.

"We're going to kick hunger out of Cape Coral with this contest. It's going to be a wrestling match and hunger's going down," Ferguson said.

"It's a fun competition to see who can bring in the most food or donations for our food drive," said Donna Germain, communications director for the chamber. "We expanded it from last year."

With a minimum $5 food or monetary donation, there is no cover charge and the first glass of wine, well drink or draft is on the house. There will also be line dance lessons at the bottom of the hour and a chance to win a Budweiser bicycle.

People who come in with a contribution can choose who to give it to, which could lead to some interesting competition between the four teams.

"We're going to try to win," Pippinger said. "We invite anyone who's affiliated with the organizations to come in with their donations and see what happens."

The CCCIA and chamber have gotten a jump on the competition through some food drives, Germain said.

Of course, the real winners are those the Save Our Summer program will benefit, the families who need it to feed themselves, especially when their children can't get lunch at school.

"The big loser will be hunger. We're kicking it out of Cape Coral. We will make sure people in need have what they need," Ferguson said.



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