NORTH VENICE — The company has always had events to help out the community, but this holiday season, Ajax Paving expanded it.

And in doing so, they added tons of food for Southwest Florida food banks.

The North Venice-based Ajax Paving Industries of Florida collected non-perishable food in “construction barrels” placed at a variety of locations between Tampa and Fort Myers.

“It was just awesome seeing all the different areas coming together,” Ajax Marketing & Public Relations Director Cassie Rubio said.

The result was a total of 21,042 pounds — about 10 tons of food, she said.

The team was inspired after they heard about another company that was filling a school bus with food. The Ajax crew decided they wondered if they could fill a truck.

“This is just amazing to see,” Rubio said with the pallets of food nearby. “It definitely exceeded my expectations.”

Ajax’s leadership was happy with how it turned out.

“I’m proud of my people. This was all their effort,” CEO Mike Horan said.

Along with this effort, Ajax regularly assists Our Mother’s House in Venice and holds a golf tournament with money raised going to several nonprofits in the region.

“It’s a chance to give back and help the people who work for us to help give back as well,” Horan said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Ajax President Vince Hafeli said about a third of the food collected will go to the Tampa area; a third to the Fort Myers area and a third to Sarasota and Charlotte counties.

Rubio said the food in Sarasota County will be distributed through the South County Food Bank in Venice. In Charlotte County, it will be distributed through Charlotte County Homeless Coalition.

Food was collected at a variety of locations, including Darrell’s Restaurant in Venice; the YMCAs in Venice, Englewood and Port Charlotte; and White Cement Specialties in Venice, among others.

“It kind of blossomed,” Hafeli said. “We hoped to fill a few barrels and ended up with over 20,000 pounds.”


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