Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, Inc.
3760 Fowler Street
Fort Myers FL 33901
To overcome hunger in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties through education and by working in a cooperative effort with partner agencies in the procurement and distribution of food, equitably and without discrimination.
CEO/Executive Director Al Brislain
Board Chair Noelle Melanson
Board Chair Affiliation Melanson Law
General Info
Organization DBA
Supported Organization
Former Names
Lee County Food Cooperative
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1983
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years?
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Apr 2016
State Registration Yes Apr 2016
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $36,339,706.00
Projected Expenses $35,824,015.00
Impact Statement

The Harry Chapin Food Bank (HCFB) distributes fresh, nutritious food to our neighbors in need through a network of more than 150 partner agencies that operate soup kitchens, emergency shelters and other programs. Each month we help feed 30,000 people, 40% of whom are children and 10% are seniors.


Although unemployment rates are dropping, many clients still need support because they work in low-paying service industry jobs or can only find part-time or seasonal employment. Our clients often have to choose between paying bills or putting food on the table. Food is often sacrificed in this equation. 


Recently, an Army veteran received food through our mobile pantry program. He completed three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan before returning home and becoming employed. Unfortunately, a work accident left him disabled and struggling to feed his family. He sought out help for his family at a mobile food pantry, expressing gratitude for the assistance. Similar stories can be heard at all of the HCFB programs.


Our top accomplishments in fiscal year (FY) 2014 were providing 18.7 million pounds food to clients, which is the equivalent of 15.5 million meals. This was a 13% increase over FY 2013.


Other accomplishments included: 

  • Providing 6.0 million pounds of fresh produce.
  • Expanding the mobile pantry program by providing 3.3 million pounds of food through almost 324 distributions.
  • Receiving a "superior rating" from the American Institute of Baking (AIB), the standard-bearer for the food safety industry. 
  • Receiving the highest rating (4 stars) for the 5th consecutive year, from the nonprofit watchdog group, Charity Navigator, for efficiency, transparency, accountability and cost-effectiveness.

 Our main goals for fiscal year 2015 are to:

  • Boost overall food distribution by 10% for a total distribution of 20.5 million pounds of food, the equivalent of 17 million meals, with a food value of $35 million
  • Increase our truck fleet to acquire and distribute more fresh produce and other nutritious food
  • Increase funding by at least 5%
  • Increase the number of partner agencies in our network 
  • Increase the number of Mobile Food Pantry distribution events
  • Increase the amount of food distributed through the Mobile Pantries
  • Receive AIB approval
Needs Statement

The acquisition and distribution of food is an on-going a challenge for the food bank. The following is an outline of food bank needs:

  • Food Acquisition - The need for food persists throughout the year, but it is especially acute in the summer. With schools closed, students qualifying for subsidized meal and snack programs no longer have access to a predictable source of food. In Southwest Florida, unemployment increases with the lack of seasonal service and retail jobs created by part-time residents returning to their summer homes in the northern states. This is further complicated by the end of the regional growing season during summer months. Food donations decline during the summer months leading to the need to acquire food from sources outside of Florida. This results in higher costs to ship and distribute food.
  • Distribution Expansion - Annually, there is a need for increased funding for program expansion. Approximately 50% of food distributed through the Mobile Food Pantry Program is comprised of produce. Increased funding is needed to expand and sustain fresh produce, retail store pickup and mobile pantry programs. 
  • Capacity-building – The food bank is in need of replacing and expanding our aging truck fleet and replace inefficient food handling equipment. 
Background Statement

The Harry Chapin Food Bank was started in 1983. The food bank was originally known as the Lee County Food Cooperative. The cooperative's primary responsibility was to help distribute the federal government's surpluses of cheese and other dairy products, which were known as government cheese distributions or commodities. A few years into the program, the amount of food began to decline, and the Board of Directors decided to create a community food bank to recover and distribute food that would have gone to waste otherwise. The Southwest Florida Food Bank struggled at first to serve 18 Lee County agencies, distributing fewer than 200,000 pounds of food between late 1990 and early 1991. The food bank persevered, though, and in 1995, the family of the late singer and anti-hunger advocate Harry Chapin allowed the food bank to use his name. The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida was born. Two years later, in 1997, the Harry Chapin Food Bank earned "certified affiliate" status from the Second Harvest National Food Bank Network, which is now known as Feeding America, the nation's largest nonprofit hunger-relief organization.

Today, the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida is the area's only food bank. As such, the food bank is the primary safety net for Southwest Floridians facing hunger and food insecurity, or a lack of consistent access to and adequate amounts of nutritious food. Through a network of 150 nonprofit partner agencies, the Harry Chapin Food Bank provides food to more than 30,000 Southwest Floridians every month. Approximately 40% of our clients are children and 10% are seniors.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Charlotte
FL- Lee
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Food, Agriculture & Nutrition
Secondary Org Type Human Services
Tertiary Org Type
Food Bank, anti-hunger advocacy, procurement and distribution of food, cooperative effort with affiliated agencies
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

From Board President, Noelle Melanson:

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year. I eagerly anticipate the wonderful bounties of summer and I reflect on the many winter accomplishments! Looking back over the past couple of months, I am especially appreciative of our community’s generosity to the Food Bank. The WINK NEWS Feeds Families Hunger Walk was a great success, because of the support we received from our sponsors and walkers and the hard work of the Hunger Walk committee and co-chairs Sandy Robinson and Dr. Brian Schwartz. The guests who attended the Taste of Boca Grande enjoyed delicious food from local restaurants and lovely entertainment by the Steve Chapin Band, and Empty Bowls Naples’ participants were treated to delicious soup in bowls created by local school children. I am grateful for the enthusiasm of the many volunteers who dedicated their precious time to making each of these events successful. As I look forward to the bountiful harvest of our local farmers, I am thankful that they share this plenty by donating lots of fresh produce to the Food Bank so that those we serve can enjoy the harvest season as well. All these caring people make our community a better place! (HCFB 2014 Spring Newsletter) http://www.harrychapinfoodbank.org/Media/Default/Files/Newsletters/HCFB_NL_2014_spring.pdf

Statement from the CEO/Executive Director

The Harry Chapin Food Bank has a dynamic team: the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, and financial supporters have made it possible for us to increase our distribution significantly over the past five years. We cannot rest on past successes, however, because hunger continues in our community.

To successfully fight hunger, envision a jigsaw puzzle. Many of the pieces are important--governmental programs such as SNAP (formerly food stamps), the school meal program, and WIC (the Women, Infants, and Children). A smaller but important piece of the puzzle is the emergency food system, which relies heavily on our efforts. Last fiscal year, we distributed almost $32 million worth of food to our neighbors in need through the emergency food system and our mobile pantry program. Without that food, thousands of children, seniors, and other Southwest Floridians would have gone hungry.

With our growth over the past five years, we continue to meet the highest standards for food banks and other non-profit organizations. We are one of a very few local human service organizations to receive a 4-star rating five consecutive years from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator. We continue to meet and exceed all standards set by the three Southwest Florida United Way organizations that fund us, as well as standards set by Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network. We also have received another clean independent financial audit, a copy of which is available on our website, http://www.harrychapinfoodbank.org. Finally, we continue to be cost-effective, distributing $6 worth of food for every operational $1 spent.

As the economy recovers, the demand for our services continues. The good news is there are still opportunities to continue to increase our food distribution. We work with farmers and packers to increase donations of fresh fruits and vegetables. We work with more than 150 grocery stores to maximize donations of meat, produce, and dairy products through our store pick up program. We constantly seek opportunities to increase food donations from other sources. Without our communities’ support, we would be unable to avail ourselves of the opportunities to feed more of our neighbors in need. With your support, we can continue to significantly reduce hunger in Southwest Florida.

Thank you for all you do to support our mission.


Mobile Pantry Program: To address hunger and good nutrition, HCFB launched the Mobile Pantry Program (MFP) in 2010. The MFP program directly addresses geographically isolated low-income communities afflicted with poor nutrition, chronic hunger and food insecurity.  The Mobile Pantry Program was designed to assist low-income individuals and families who live in areas where access to grocery stores and public transportation is limited. 

Using ret repurposed beverage trucks, Mobile Food Pantries contain anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 pounds of food and produce. Approximately 200 to 250 families/households, representing 400 to 600 children, are served at each distribution event. Families select grocery items such as frozen meat, bread, rice, cereal, fresh vegetables and fruit, averaging 30 to 35 pounds of food per household.

Budget $809,000
Category Human Services, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success
Short-term goals are to distribute approximately 10,000 pounds of food to about 300 families at each distribution. The food bank schedules approximately three to four distributions a week.
Long Term Success
Mobile pantries distribute approximately 12,000 pounds of food to an average of 300 families per distribution. The intent of this program is to assure that those in need receive emergency food quickly. The food bank typically schedules distributions through partner agencies. These agencies inform the clients of the upcoming distributions. The goal is to increase mobile pantry distributions by at least 10%.
Program Success Monitoring
Clients self-report their income status and receipt of other assistance such as food stamps and Medicaid. The food bank uses those reports to determine how many people were served at a distribution. Additionally, the food bank monitors the partner agencies to ensure that they are complying with food safety standards and other requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Feeding America, the food bank's national affiliate. 
Program Success Examples
The mobile pantry has grown since it started in early 2011. The food bank distributed 3.3 million pounds of food through this program in FYN2014. Additionally, a separate grant has allowed the food bank to target clients in Collier County. Through that grant, the food bank has distributed an additional 2.2 million pounds of food to children and their families in Collier County.

Fresh Produce: The food bank began the Fresh Produce program in 2008 with the intent of providing more fresh fruits and vegetables. That year, the food bank distributed more than 69,000 pounds of fresh produce, collected through area farmers, retailers, Feeding America suppliers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other sources. The fresh produce program continues to expand annually with recent distribution climbing over 6 million pounds, an increase of 8,500% since the program's inception.

Budget $864,000
Category Human Services, General/Other Human Services, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success
The short-term goal is to increase fresh produce distributions by at least 10%.
Long Term Success
The goal is to increase the amount of fresh produce the food bank receives through growers, area retailers and other sources by at least 10%. The intent is to distribute that food to clients so that they receive more nutritious food.
Program Success Monitoring
The operations department monitors the amount and types of food the food bank acquires and distributes. It weighs these donations and the amount distributed to ensure that goals are being met.
Program Success Examples
More than 6.0 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables were distributed in fiscal year 2014.

Retail Store Donations: The food bank has established partnerships with more than 140 grocery/retail stores, including Publix, Walmart, Winn-Dixie and Target. Approximately 35% to 40% of all donated food is acquired from grocery and retail store partnerships.

Budget $450,000
Category Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, General/Other Food
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Families Elderly and/or Disabled
Short Term Success
The short-term goal is to increase donations by at least 10% by adding more stores to the program.
Long Term Success
The long-term goal is to include all large area food retailers in this program.  
Program Success Monitoring
The program is monitored by the operations department, which tracks the number of participating stores and the amount of their donations. Drivers are assigned to particular routes.
Program Success Examples
Thirty-eight percent of donations to the food bank in fiscal year 2014 came through this program.

SNAP Outreach: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is a short-term resource for families to acquire nutritious foods at local grocery stores. The food bank’s outreach staff helps clients apply for the SNAP assistance, which is administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Budget $99,000
Category Human Services, General/Other Human Services, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Short Term Success
The short-term goal is to increase the number of applications submitted for SNAP assistance by at least 10%.
Long Term Success
The long-term goal is to offer assistance with SNAP applications, particularly in underserved areas.
Program Success Monitoring
The food bank works with clients to submit applications to the Department of Children and Families, which administers and monitors the program.
Program Success Examples
The food bank's applicant approval rate is 85%. Statewide, the approval rate is 67%.
Program Comments by Organization
Program Comments by Foundation
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Al Brislain
CEO Term Start Mar 2007
CEO/Executive Director Email albrislain@harrychapinfoodbank.org

Al Brislain, President & CEO, has been in food banking for more than 30 years. He has been director of four food banks, including an 11-year stint as executive director of the Second Harvest Food Bank in Spokane, WA. He also has worked for Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest), most recently as senior vice president of member services from 2002-2007. Brislain is a graduate of University of California at Davis. He has been President & CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank since March of 2007.

Feeding America, the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, announced in April the selection of Al Brislain, CEO and president of the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, as the recipient of the 2015 John van Hengel Fellowship.

The annual award honors the ideals of the late John van Hengel, who developed the concept of food banking in the 1960s, and recognizes an executive director or CEO of a member food bank for his or her excellence in leadership, local impact and national influence, and commitment and entrepreneurial spirit in the area of hunger relief.

Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Eric Hitzeman Operations Director
Kelli King Capital Campaign Director
Kari LaFort Programs Director
Dave Najar Director of Administration, Technology, Finance
Miriam Pereira Development Director
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 50
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 89
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 0
Volunteers 4200
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes

As the largest  food bank in Southwest Florida, HCFB collaborates with more than 150 nonprofit partner agencies in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee countries for the distribution of food to 30,000 people each month.  

AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)
Florida Public Relations Association
United Way Member Agency
Florida Association of Food Banks
Feeding America
Fresh From Florida
Christian Chamber of Commerce
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce
External Assessments and Accreditations
Charity Navigator
American Institute of Baking (AIB)
Awards & Recognition
4-Star CharityCharity Navigator2014
AIB CertificationAmerican Institute of Baking2014
Al Brislain, CEO and president recipient of the 2015 John van Hengel Fellowship.Feeding America2015
GuideStar Exchange Gold participation levelGuideStar USA, Inc.2015
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government No
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 3
Strategic Plan Adopted June 2012
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Management Comments by Organization
Management Comments by Foundation
Board Chair
Board Chair Noelle Melanson
Company Affiliation Melanson Law
Board Term July 2012 to June 2015
Board Chair Email Noelle@MelansonLaw.com
Board Members
Board Members
John Belisle BB&T-Oswald, Trippe & Co.
William Dillon Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney
Craig Folk Miller, Helms, and Folk (CPA)
David Fry Community Volunteer
Jan-Erik Hustrulid Owen-Ames-Kimball Company
C. Robert Leadbetter Volunteer
Maura Matzko Community Volunteer
Noelle Melanson Melanson Law
Ray Pavelka Mariner Properties Development
Anne Rose Lee Memorial Health System
Bianca Ross Drug Free Hendry County Community Coalition
Dr. Brian Schwartz 21st Century Oncology
P.Keith Scoggins Jr.Attorney, Retired General Counsel Farm Credit System
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 2
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 9
Female 4
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Board Meeting Attendance % 80
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Constituency Includes Client Representation No
Standing Committees
Board Governance
Capital Campaign
Human Resources / Personnel
Program / Program Planning
Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)
Governance Comments by Organization
Governance Comments by Foundation
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2014
Fiscal Year Ends 2015
Projected Revenue $36,339,706.00
Projected Expenses $35,824,015.00
Endowment Value $13,795.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Endowment Spending Policy %
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign Yes
Campaign Purpose Pay off mortgage on our warehouse, technology upgrades, and capacity building such as truck purchases and freezer expansion
Campaign Goal $5,175,130.00
Campaign Dates Sept 2012 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 3021820 as of June 2015
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201420132012
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$2,332,570$352,150$424,111
Individual Contributions$27,449,039$2,192,454$21,923,841
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,434$1,225$3,774
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$1,607,579$1,569,109$1,895,787
Revenue In-Kind$26,811,021$23,417,464$59,696
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201420132012
Program Expense$31,148,681$27,645,443$24,683,171
Administration Expense$840,168$221,127$206,468
Fundraising Expense$0$482,436$714,393
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.011.011.00
Program Expense/Total Expenses97%98%96%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%11%3%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$8,116,317$8,116,317$8,253,630
Current Assets$3,027,707$3,027,707$2,943,210
Long-Term Liabilities$2,374,511$2,374,511$2,642,674
Current Liabilities$452,103$452,103$561,372
Total Net Assets$5,289,703$5,289,703$5,049,584
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $27,449,039Food Contributions $23,379,564Food Contributions $19,971,907
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants - Federal $2,178,050Contributions, gifts, grants $2,192,454Grants and Donations $1,928,882
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $1,607,579Fundraising $1,569,109Fundraising $1,895,787
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $100,001 - $125,000
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities6.706.705.24
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201420132012
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets29%29%32%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
Financial Comments by Foundation Financial information taken from audited financial statements.  Individual contributions include foundation and corporate support.  Federal tax returns and audited financial statements reconcile.
Nonprofit Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, Inc.
Address 3760 Fowler Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901
Primary Phone 239 334-7007