Immokalee families receive hot meals through Guadalupe Center
The Guadalupe Center served hot meals in Immokalee on Saturday afternoon as families brace for the impact of COVID-19.
Donors Debbie and Bill Toler provided families with 1,000 boxed meals from Jonesez BBQ food truck.
The food truck set up at Monaghan Family Early Childhood Education Campus where families drove up and were handed meals by volunteers.
Friday afternoon, Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered restaurants statewide to close their dining rooms in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“I think the biggest challenge right now is uncertainty, said Dawn Montecalvo, president of the Guadalupe Center. “People just don’t know what to expect.”
Volunteers, clad in gloves, kept their distances but met families with smiles as they collected the meals.
"It's a community where most people work paycheck to paycheck," Montecalvo said. "And whenever there is a break in work or a break in business they don’t have the reserves that other families may have."
The meals were provided to families whose children go to the Guadalupe center. The center also provided meals at different locations for families who are served by the Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee and the Redlands Christian Migrant Association.
“Many of the families in Immokalee are farmers or in the hospitality industry and everything is such a big unknown,” Debbie Toler said.
Although the school district is providing meals to communities during the week, Debbie Toler said there was a void during the weekends.
"Anyone that can, roll up your sleeves and help in whatever capacity you can," Debbie Toler said. "It doesn't have to be food trucks. Everybody has a skill or something that they can donate or help other people out. It’s a chance for people to come together and really help those who need it most in whatever capacity they can."
Jamie Rossi, assistant director of School Age Programs at the Guadalupe Center, had been working virtually until Saturday, where along with other volunteers, he helped hand out meals.
"It's a very close-knit community." Rossi said. "They are resilient and they are also very grateful and thankful. They come together in times of need and help one another."
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