Darden Foundation Supports Everyday Cafe

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CCMI receives grant from Darden Restaurants, Inc.

dardenlogo[FOR MYERS, Fla. (April 8, 2013) – Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. announced that it has been selected to receive a $1,000 grant as part of the Restaurant Community Grants program from the Darden Foundation, the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc.

The Restaurant Community Grants program, now in its second year, empowers each restaurant in the Darden family of brands to help award a $1,000 grant to support local community programs. The donation will support CCMI's Everyday Cafe. The Everyday Café concept makes food more easily available to everyone in the community who is hungry. This model also decreases the stigma associated with standing in line for a hot meal and reduces significant waste in the preselected soup kitchen model.

Darden's Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille and Eddie V's brands participated in the program. Many restaurants and brands worked together to award one nonprofit organization with a larger grant and make a greater impact in their community.

The restaurants will award more than $1.9 million to more than 850 exceptional nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Nonprofits receiving grants support one of Darden's three key focus areas: access to postsecondary education, preservation of natural resources and hunger.

"Our employees are incredibly passionate about the communities where they live, and our restaurant teams are in a position to understand and help address the needs of their communities," said Drew Madsen, Darden Restaurants' president and chief operating officer. "We're all proud to build on that passion through the grants program and bring real, local citizenship to life by enabling each restaurant to make a difference in their backyard."

CCMI's Everyday Cafe & Market program provides food for hungry or food insecure families in our community. The program provides customers a choice in food and increased access to fresh produce, dairy, and bakery items. The Everyday Cafe served over 75,000 meals in 2012.

For more information about the Darden Foundation, please visit www.dardenfoundation.com. 


About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 2,000 restaurants that generate over $8.0 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 190,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2013, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the third year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit, www.darden.com.

The Darden Foundation

The Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation is the charitable arm of Darden Restaurants, Inc. The Foundation's mission is to maintain a spirit of volunteerism and philanthropy as defining characteristics of Darden Restaurants. Since 1995, the Darden Foundation has awarded more than $60 million in grants, with $7.2 million given in fiscal year 2012. The Darden Foundation carries out its mission by focusing philanthropic efforts and resources on the following program areas: Access to Postsecondary Education, Preservation of Natural Resources and Good Neighbor Grants. For more information, please visit, www.dardenfoundation.com.

Greek Fest to Benefit CCMI

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Greek Fest Benefits CCMI's Meals On Wheels

greekfestGo and be Greek for the weekend on March 1, 2, & 3 Friday-Saturday 11am-11pm and Sunday 12pm-5pm at the 2013 Greek Fest! A portion of the net proceeds of this year's Greek Fest, held at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 8210 Cypress Lake Drive, Fort Myers, Florida, will be generously donated to CCMI and Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida. The proceeds donated to CCMI will support the Meals on Wheels program. The festival offers amazing Greek food, gifts, colorful dancers, and authentic Greek music. Many events are scheduled throughout the day including carnival rides and entertainment. Share the warmth and generosity that have been the hallmarks of the Greek culture and provided at Greek Fest for the past 38 years!

 According to the Greek Fest website, "This festival is not only about music, dance, wine, food, and family fun. It is also about coming together as friends, having a good time and saying, Efharisto (thank you) to our community!" 

 Wristbands allowing unlimited rides during all 3 days of the festival are available for purchase from now through February 27th for only $40. The $40 price is only available with ADVANCE purchases. Unlimited-ride DAILY wristbands will be available for purchase during the festival at $20 PER DAY. 

 For Pre-Sale Carnival Wrist Bands, please call Darlene at 239.731.5130. Or purchase them here!

Download a Greek Fest flyer pdfhere!

Taxpayer Relief with CCMI Donation

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Age 70 1/2 or older? This Information is for You!

irsDonations made to CCMI by January 31, 2013 can be treated as a 2012 qualified charitable IRA distribution for those friends who have an IRA and are at least 70 1/2 years of age.

This benefit results from the extension of The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 for qualified charitable IRA distributions for 2012 and 2013. Up to $100,000 can be excluded from gross income from a qualified charitable distribution made for 2012 and 2013 and this will satisfy any IRA required minimum distributions for the year. 

As stated by the IRS, contributions must be handled in one of the following manners:

  • The contribution must be a cash contribution to the charity of all or a portion of an IRA distribution made to the IRA owner in December 2012, provided that the contribution would have been a 2012 QCD if it had been paid directly from the IRA to the charity in 2012.

  • The contribution is paid directly from the IRA to the charity, provided that the contribution would have been a 2012 QCD if it had been paid in 2012.

IRA owners should keep records to substantiate the timing of contributions and distributions regarding any 2012 QCD made in January 2013.

Please check with your financial adviser for specific details on how to receive this deduction for 2012 before January 31. Here is a link from the IRS with additional information.

Thank you for considering CCMI for your end of the year contribution. Together we can stamp out hunger and build better futures in our community!

Cape Coral Community Foundation Awards Grant to CCMI

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CCMI's Everyday Cafe receives grant from the Cape Coral Community Foundation

CCCommunityFoun logoThe Community Cooperative Ministries, Inc. was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Cape Coral Community Foundation in support of the agency's social-service programs embedded at the Everyday Café and Marketplace.

The funding will increase CCMI's capacity to serve by creating a Cape Café Concierge Program that will more efficiently connect Cape Coral café, marketplace and walk-in clients with their requested services while providing follow-up assistance to Meals on Wheels seniors.

"The Cape Coral Community Foundation has been very pleased with the efforts of CCMI and its provided services in Cape Coral," said Executive Director Beth Sanger. "Grants to CCMI not only help those in need, but we are confident our funds are being used in the most cost effective manner. We can not thank the CCMI team enough for their outstanding work for the residents of Cape Coral and are truly grateful to consider the agency a strategic partner for improving the lives of our residents."

The Café Concierge Program provides vital client support to the social service programs, Meals On Wheels and the Everyday Cafés and Marketplaces. A café concierge acts as the gatekeeper at the Everyday Café and United Way House's front door, providing clients with service triage in order to help them most efficiently access the appropriate services. The concierge would also manage the client traffic flow, agency phone calls and Meals On Wheels follow-up, resulting in increased safety, more effective service and improved client outcomes.

"We are deeply grateful for the continuing, generous support of the Cape Coral Community Foundation," said Tracey Galloway, CEO of CCMI. "Thanks to its commitment to our work, we have been able to expand our services to the Cape Coral community and better meet the growing demands in this area of Lee County."

The Cape Coral Community Foundation is a tax-exempt charitable organization created through gifts by many generous community-minded individuals. The Cape Coral Community Foundation works to grow philanthropy and strengthen our community by encouraging community endowments, addressing community needs and providing community leadership. Community foundations operate in perpetuity, meaning the gifts made to the foundation will continue to grow and provide resources for generations to come.

The mission of the Cape Coral Community Foundation is to support the public well-being and to improve the quality of life in the greater Cape Coral community through the stewardship of permanently endowed and gifted funds.

Target Grant Supports Everyday Cafes & Markets

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CCMI receives a grant from Target for its Everyday Cafés and Marketplaces

target red_300x380CCMI's Everyday Cafés and Marketplaces were awarded a $3,000 grant from Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT). In recognition of the efforts of CCMI in ending local hunger and homelessness, the grant will provide much needed food and supplies for the agency's cafés and marketplaces.

"CCMI looks forward to our continued partnership with Target that has involved both community volunteering and financial support. This grant funding will make a significant impact on helping the Everyday Cafés and Marketplaces feed the hungry during the holiday season, and we are extremely grateful for this assistance." said Tracey Galloway, CEO of CCMI.

The grant is part of Target's ongoing efforts to build strong, safe and healthy communities across the country. These efforts include Target's long history of giving 5 percent of its profit to communities, which today equals more than $4 million every week. As part of this commitment, Target is on track to give $1 billion for education by the end of 2015 to help kids learn, schools teach and parents and caring adults engage.

"At Target, we are committed to serving local communities where we do business," said Laysha Ward, President, Community Relations, Target. "That's why we are proud to partner with CCMI as we work to strengthen communities and enrich the lives of our guests and team members."

In addition to the grant received by CCMI Target also gives through signature programs such as:

• Take Charge of Education, a school fundraising initiative that provides undesignated funds to local schools for whatever they need most, from books and school supplies to classroom technology.

• Arts Accessibility, free or reduced-price admission to arts and cultural events nationwide.

• Target School Library Makeovers, a program that leverages Target's world-class design expertise to transform school libraries across the country with new construction, furniture, and technology, as well as 2,000 new books.

• Education Grants and Awards, including Books for Schools Awards, Target Field Trip Grants and Early Childhood Reading Grants, that provide schools, libraries, teachers and nonprofit organizations the resources they need to bring learning to life and put more kids on the path to graduation.

Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at more than 1,763 stores across the United States and at Target.com. The company plans to open its first stores in Canada in 2013. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its profit through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $4 million a week. For more information about Target's commitment to corporate responsibility, visit Target.com/hereforgood.

Grainger Foundation Supports Community Children

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The Grainger Foundation Supports SchoolBackpack Program

CCMI received $5000 from The Grainger Foundation, an independent, private foundation in support of our School Backpack Program serving Treeline Elementary School. This donation was recommended by Todd Zellner, Branch Manager of W.W. Grainger, Inc.'s Fort Myers location.

Thank you Grainger Foundation for your continued support of programs that help feed hungry children in our community!

CCMI receives Fort Myers Arts & Culture Grant

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cityftmyers logoThe Fort Myers City Council recently awarded CCMI's Community Montessori School a $2,500 grant under the City of Fort Myers 2012 Arts and Culture Grant Program.

This grant will help expand CCMI's Community Montessori Student Art Program by introducing the "Evolution of Art" project to incoming students and supporting the younger students through the process. The project illustrates how a child's vision and creativity evolve developmentally from ages 2 through 5, utilizing a basic form from nature – the image of a flower – which the children will design and create through an artistic medium.

CCMI's art teacher maintains an endless supply of project ideas that teach the students to use unique mediums for creating art, re-using art materials and learning about famous artists. The art program provides weekly art instruction the students would not otherwise have access to.

"We are very excited about the progress our art program has made, thanks to the previous funding provided by the City of Fort Myers Arts and Culture grant," says Community Montessori Director Cindy Venezia. "It's a program that truly impacts the learning development of our students, and I look forward to seeing each of them advance with the success of the program."

The Community Montessori School is an early-childhood education program that serves 40 children, ages 2 to 5, from families who are working or in school and at 150 percent below the poverty level. Its education program provides students with a variety of creative opportunities through art, music and movement that strengthen students' developmental assets, excitement and curiosity about new experiences. The students typically have limited opportunity and access to arts in a safe environment otherwise.

Walmart Golden Spark Promotion to End Child Hunger

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Walmart Launches Golden Spark Promotion for Child Hunger

walmartgoldensparkWalmart is introducing it's latest initiative in the fight against hunger and it is up to us to participate and win money for our community's School Backpack Program. The program is a $2.5 million "Golden Spark" promotion, providing a chance to win "sparks" that will help fund childhood hunger programs in our communities. The promotion is just one part of the company's Fighting Hunger Together fall initiative which brings together customers, associates, Feeding America and five of the nation's largest food companies — ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, and Unilever — to provide meals nationwide.

This is how we participate:

Through October 14, Walmart will randomly award 40 "Golden Sparks" valued at $50,000 each to consumers who participate in the Fighting Hunger Together Golden Spark promotion. The winners will choose a community to receive the funding to start or expand a backpack program that provides vital meals to food-insecure children during weekends when they do not have access to free- and reduced-price school meals.

Participants can enter to win a "Golden Spark" for their community by visiting www.walmart.com/hunger or Walmart's Live Better Facebook app. Also, Walmart Associates can compete together for their store to win 10 additional "Golden Sparks" totaling $500,000 for their communities by logging the most hunger relief volunteer hours during the life of the campaign.

Click here to nominate our community as a Golden Spark!