Meals program seeks ‘Friends of Hope’

Meals of Hope is a year-long fundraising endeavor to purchase materials for the annual packaging event and are later distributed to local food pantries and needy families

Marco Eagle

What is Friends of Hope? A small group of supporters who donate $600 for individual membership or $750 for business membership. Friends get free admission to the Happy Hours for Hope, recognition at all events, and a guaranteed table at the annual packaging event.

“Friends of Hope are critical to our success,” said Bill Morris. “Their financial support is a key to meeting our goal and they are much appreciated. We still have a few openings in Friends of Hope, so I ask anyone willing to make the financial contribution to please email me and send a check right away so I can add them to our banner!”

File: Nov. 15, 2015, Catherine Thonig, left, Matt Basler, Susan Ackerson, and Diane Chestnut work together to bag up meals at Charter Middle, approximately 500 Meals of Hope volunteers packed over 425,000 meals to feed the hungry in Southwest Florida.

The first “Happy Hour for Hope” of 2018 will be from 5 until 7 p.m., Monday, Jan. 29, at CJ’s on the Bay in the Esplanade, 740 North Collier Boulevard, Marco Island.

“We have 10 Happy Hours each year and they are crucial to our success,” said Morris. “Curt and Jacquie Koon, Chef Laura and the CJ’s team are some of our biggest supporters. I hope to see a great turnout.”

Happy Hours for Hope are fundraisers for Marco Island’s Meals of Hope. The $20 admission fee helps the organization buy food for its packaging event in November. The meals packaged by volunteers are distributed to needy families in the local communities through food banks and even a Meals of Hope Truck.

At the happy hours, host venue donate hors d'oeuvres and appetizers and drinks are available at reduced or happy hour prices. There are also 50/50 raffles. Rosetta Stone, accompanied by her spouse and musical partner Tom, volunteers her time and provides musical entertainment at every happy hour.

Marco Meals of Hope is a joint effort of Kiwanis, Noontime Rotary and Sunrise Rotary Clubs. It is a hands-on approach to combating hunger in our community. Volunteers work year-round raising funds for its packaging event at Marco Island Charter Middle School. Last year, volunteers packed over 250,000 meals for distribution through the Meals of Hope distribution network.

For more information or to join Friends of Hope, contact Bill “Captain Hope” Morris at 239-642-6020 or email at  

For more information concerning Marco Island Meals of Hope, visit or for Meals of Hope parent organization, visit