Thanksgiving in the Park 2018: A Week of Service for the Immokalee Community

Thanksgiving in the Park is an incredible opportunity to serve and share food, culture, and love by providing thousands of people in Immokalee with a hot Thanksgiving meal.  Last year, we fed over 1,600 people on Thanksgiving Day, so we need all the help we can get.  Saint John the Evangelist has assumed the primary role for every facet of Thanksgiving in the Park, so there are opportunities to assist for every member of our Parish Family all week long.  Here are some of our needs:

  • Saturday, November 17, and Sunday, November 18: Bring Your Turkey to Church Weekend– Please bring a pre-cooked, frozen turkey to Mass over this weekend. You can purchase these pre-cooked, frozen turkeys at Walmart and Publix, where you can get them at the Deli Counter or in the frozen food area.  We need at least 100 turkeys this year to feed everyone in need.  We cannot take raw uncooked or frozen turkeys since we do not have the facilities to defrost and then cook dozens of turkeys.  We need them pre-cooked professionally to ensure the turkeys are fully cooked, which is why we request the turkeys to be purchased as pre-cooked and frozen.  We will also collect store-bought pies.
  • Wednesday, November 21:Turkey Shredding and Packing Day – We will have 2 hour shifts from 8 AM to 4 PM in Rome for volunteers to shred the turkeys we have received. Please bring your own kitchen knives and utensils to cut up the turkeys.  There is work for all ages, including packing the turkey and other items, helping move the heavy turkeys around to get them shredded, and making pictures for the decorations for the park.
  • Thursday, November 22:Serving Thanksgiving Lunch – We will be out at the Immokalee Airport Park starting at 8:30 AM to setup both the park and the food service. Volunteers are needed to get the food warmed up and ready for the 11 AM start.  Once the meal is concluded, we will need further assistance in cleaning and packing the materials back up to come to St. John.
  • Friday, November 23:Clean-Up Morning – We will use our industrial kitchen’s dishwasher and sinks to clean all the pots, pans, and other materials from the park. We will begin around 9 AM.

Please contact our office (239) 566-8740 or email me at to sign up for any of the activities of these days if you are interested in supporting this wonderful moment of encounter and service.  We have again received Collier County-wide approval for Thanksgiving in the Park to be considered a service opportunity for the public high school students.  Thank you so much for continuing to serve the community with your gifts of time, talent, and treasure!


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