2017-06-15 / Top News

OFF! maker donates repellent for distribution by food bank

The Harry Chapin Food Bank will distribute 80,000 units of OFF! mosquito repellent through 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.

“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,” says Richard LeBer, president and CEO of the Harry Chapin Food Bank. “This donation will make a lot of difference where it is most needed.”

OFF! distributions at local Harry Chapin Food Bank mobile pantries include one from 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, at East Naples Park, 3500 Thomasson Drive in Naples. 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 OFF! through the food bank’s online ordering system.

“The Feeding Florida statewide network of food banks is critical in mobilizing the necessary resources tailored to meet the needs of each community,” says Robin Safely, executive director of Feeding Florida. “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 wearing mosquito repellent and about draining all sources of standing water to keep mosquitoes from breeding.

In 2016, the total number of Zika cases reported in Southwest Florida was 45 and all were travel-related, according to the Florida DOH. The county breakdown was 28 in Collier, 15 in Lee; two in Charlotte; and none in Glades or Hendry.

So far this year, the total number of Zika cases confirmed to have been acquired inside the state of Florida is four. The number acquired by Florida residents traveling outside of Florida is 52, and the origin of 12 other cases is undetermined, according to the Florida DOH. ¦

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