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First Presbyterian Church in Fort Myers to present ‘First Celebrates Freedom’

Patriotic concert a benefit for Community Cooperative

June 30, 2017
Special to The Breeze ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Hungry families and children out of school for the summer will benefit from an evening of patriotic music and fellowship at "First Celebrates Freedom," presented by First Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers and sponsored by the Galloway Family of Dealerships.

The event, planned for Thursday, July 6, at First Presbyterian Church, 2438 Second St., in downtown Fort Myers, will be a 90-minute performance of patriotic music, hymns, instrumentalists and special guests beginning at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.

Admission is free, although voluntary cash donations and cans of non-perishable food will be accepted to benefit Com-munity Cooperative (The Soup Kitchen).

"For some families, summer means a certain kind of freedom. For the families we serve, it means just the opposite. Summer months can be the cruelest season for families who can't rely on the schools to feed their hungry children," said Community Cooperative CEO Tracey Galloway.

During the school year, children often receive their only meals of the day at school.

To ease the strain this summer, Com-munity Cooperative is partnering with Sam Galloway Ford for the fourth annual Summer Drive for Hunger with a goal of collecting 25,000 pounds of food and raising $25,000 to support hungry families during June and July. Sam Galloway Ford will donate $1 for every pound of food dropped off at the Fort Myers dealership.

Community Cooperative provided food and other services to 10,250 people last year with the help of partner agencies, including the Harry Chapin Food Bank and United Way agencies.

Community Cooperative was founded in 1984 to help alleviate hunger and suffering in Lee County. First Presbyterian Church has been a strong supporter of the agency from the beginning and continues to support its ministry there by providing volunteers and other support for The Soup Kitchen and the Meals on Wheels program.

Organizer and sponsor Sam Galloway Jr. said the annual event, now in its 19th year, was renamed from "A Midsummer Night's Sing" to reflect the patriotic music as well as hymns that will be sung.

"We purposely planned the event close to July 4 to honor our great country and give everyone the opportunity to join in song to celebrate all that makes America wonderful," Galloway said.

Galloway has made feeding the hungry part of his life's work.

"Our community has done so much to help our neighbors, but we need to do even more. If we each just gave the equivalent of what we would spend on a meal - either at home or in a restaurant - those few dollars could feed a family of four for an entire week," Galloway said.

Galloway annually sponsors the popular "Mrs. Edison's Hymn Sing" as part of the Edison Festival of Light in February. Because more than 4,000 people attend "Mrs. Edison's Hymn Sing" in the winter, organizers planned "First Celebrates Freedom" to allow more local residents to enjoy the same type of activity during the less crowded summer months.

The First Presbyterian Chancel Choir and friends will be featured during the evening, which will include sing-a-longs of well-known patriotic music and hymns everybody knows.

"Please try to bring whatever cash donation you can and at least two cans of non-perishable food. And, if you're unable to contribute but still want to support the cause, come anyway and have a good time," Galloway said.

"First Celebrates Freedom" is the second of three sing-a-longs sponsored annually by the Galloway Family of Dealer-ships. The other two are "Mrs. Edison's Hymn Sing" in February and the very popular "Christmas Carol Sing," scheduled for Dec. 5. All three events benefit Commu-nity Cooperative (The Soup Kitchen).

For more information, call 334-2261 or visit

About Community Cooperative

Community Cooperative is an innovative nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization made up of social service entrepreneurs fighting to end homelessness and hunger in our community. The agency provides more than 14,000 meals each month through its Community Cafs, Community Market-place and Community & School Mobile Markets, as well as Meals on Wheels programs, and offers homeless and comprehensive case management services through its Social & Education Resource Centers.

A United Way partner, Community Cooperative serves the greater Fort Myers area with campuses in Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach and mobile services in Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, and Lehigh Acres. Community Coopera-tive works in close partnership with the Harry Chapin Food Bank and the School District of Lee County as well as collaborating with fellow community and service groups, churches, businesses and community support organizations.

About First Presbyterian Church

of Fort Myers

First Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers is a community of faith, celebrating a loving God. The church was founded in 1901 and continues to be an integral part of Lee County by presenting some of the area's most well-attended events, such as "Mrs. Edison's Hymn Sing" in February as part of the Edison Festival of Light, "First Celebrates Freedom" in July, and the "Christmas Carol Sing" in December. All three events benefit The Soup Kitchen of Community Cooperative, which also was founded by First Presbyterian Church in 1984. Services are offered Sundays at 11 a.m. with Sunday Adult Education from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. A nursery is available from 9:30 a.m. to noon.



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