Food For Thought by Karen Coney Coplin

Have you been to the Third Street South Farmer’s Market? It’s open year round on Saturday mornings beginning at 7:30 and wrapping up at 11:30 a.m. This time of year, it is located on Third Street South, between Broad Ave. S. and 13th Ave. S., rather than the parking area located just north of 13th Ave. S., two block east of the Gulf of Mexico.

Find all kinds of fresh produce, pastries, prepared foods and as the website proclaims, “many other delights.” Enjoy the sights and often musical sounds as well as any number of reasons to enjoy this weekly Naples tradition:

1. Friendly people. Both visitors and vendors!
2. As such…be a part of their – your – community while you people and pet-watch.
3. Socially distanced shopping, plus, shop local + shop small.
4. Roy G. Biv – remember all the colors of the rainbow? You’ll find them all here.
5. Enjoy the fresh air in the best open market tradition.
6. Experiment with new foods or unusual strains of more commonly found produce.
7. Learn from vendors or even other customers – new recipes and ideas abound.
8. Plan an upcoming meal with the freshest local ingredients.
9. Taste test – many vendors offer delicious samples.
10. Have fun while helping the environment, saving money, and eating nutritious food.
“The people who give you their food give you their heart.” Cesar Chavez

Despite the abundance of produce and other food items at the Third Street South Farmer’s Market, there is food insecurity in Naples and Collier County, and this is at greatly increased levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several Naples area organizations are working in overdrive to ensure that no one goes hungry. In the spirit of the season, consider lending support to any or all of these caring missions:

1. Collier Harvest Foundation – almost three decades in Naples, this organization provides healthy and nutritious food to hungry neighbors across Collier County. Their programs, Helping Hands and Food Fast, gather needed items from food drives, daily retail collections, and work with local relief agencies to supply specific food items needed on an immediate basis.

Throughout December, all donations received will be matched 2 to 1 (up to $125,000 in total). Visit:, or call 239.455.FOOD or mail a check (payable to) Collier Harvest Foundation, P.O. Box 11143, Naples, FL 34101-1143
Collier Harvest has participated in the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, which typically collects 250,000 lbs of food at this event for local distribution.

2. Harry Chapin Food Bank had its start in 1983, and was renamed in 1994 to honor the late singer, a passionate advocate to end hunger. It serves all of Southwest Florida, encompassing five counties. The Naples location is at 3940 Prospect Ave. #101. You can contact them at 239.334.7007 or via their website, Their vision: no one has to go hungry in our community. If you are in need of food assistance, you are also invited to reach out on their website or to visit one of their Mobile Food Pantries.

Every dollar donated to this organization can supply $8 worth of food. Over 50% of persons served are children in need (32%) or seniors (19%). This year has seen a tremendous rise in first-time clients served amid the pandemic.

3. St. Matthew’s House, founded over 30 years ago, and located at 2001 Airport Road. S. You can contact them at
239.774.0500 or via their website, They offer many programs to feed those in need on a daily basis as well as offering mobile food pantries to assist others in their homes.

This organization provided food to 12,850 families in the month of October, which was a 3000% increase from October 2019, correlating with the dramatic rise of need in Naples and surrounding communities. The organization accepts donations of non-perishable food items Monday – Saturday and monetary donations are needed to keep up with the pace of dramatically increased demand. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, text SMHFOOD to 51555 to receive updates on food availability at mobile pantry locations.

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” Mother Teresa

Do you have a favorite local Farmer’s Market, in another part of town? Send your suggestions to Karen at, along with names of other organizations dedicated toward fighting hunger. Follow her adventures of Life in Naples on Instagram @Naplesbythenumbers.

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