2017-06-15 / Top News

Food bank is giving away repellent targeting Zika

The Harry Chapin Food Bank will distribute 80,000 units of OFF! mosquito repellent during June, July and August to those in need throughout its service area of Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.

The mosquito repellent donation, from maker SC Johnson, will help combat and prevent Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases. The local distribution is part of a larger donation of 540,000 units that will be provided statewide by the Feeding Florida network of food banks. The Harry Chapin Food Bank is a member of Feeding Florida.

“We are so grateful for this donation of much-needed mosquito repellent by the SC Johnson Company,” said Richard LeBer, president and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “As we enter the rainy season here in Southwest Florida, we want to be sure that we prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like Zika, especially among the poorest and most vulnerable of our neighbors. This donation will make a lot of difference where it is most needed.”

Upcoming OFF! distributions at local Harry Chapin Food Bank mobile pantries include Sacred Heart Church, 211 W. Charlotte Ave., Punta Gorda.

If you don’t see an upcoming distribution in your area, contact the Harry Chapin Food Bank, as additional mobile pantry distributions are being coordinated throughout the mosquito season.

The food bank is also making the repellent available to all of its more than 150 partner agencies, which can order the repellent through the food bank’s online ordering system.

Robin Safely, executive director of Feeding Florida, said: “The Feeding Florida statewide network of food banks is critical in mobilizing the necessary resources tailored to meet the needs of each community. We are excited to partner with SC Johnson to provide our communities with the education and prevention tools necessary to protect families from mosquitoes and reduce the spread of Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases.”

There are currently no areas of ongoing, active transmission of Zika in Florida. However, the Florida Department of Health website advises residents and visitors to remain vigilant about mosquito bite protection by draining all sources of standing water to keep mosquitoes from breeding, and by wearing insect repellent.

In 2016, the total number of Zika cases reported in Southwest Florida was 45, all travel-related, according to the state Health Department website.

For more information, call the food bank, 239-344-7007. ¦

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