Our Parish Family continues to live out our Mission: To Know, To Love, and To Serve God in His Church and Our Community. This Thanksgiving was a perfect illustration of the positive impact we can make on the larger community as we assumed the full responsibility for Thanksgiving in the Park, the annual food service to those most in need in Immokalee. Over 1600 people were fed by our Parish Family and our friends all around Naples.
From our Knights of Columbus to Enterprise Rentals to Oracle to the Ritz Carlton, organizations and individuals assisted us in gathering over 200 turkeys, shredding them along with preparing all the food, setting up the park to feed hundreds of people, and then serving every person who came to the Park. Father John led the community in prayer:
The weather held out all day and we were able to make sure than no one left the Immokalee Airport Park hungry. My wife, Donna, organized the entire event with the support of the Guadalupe Center, whom we transitioned the program from this year. We had over 350 volunteers over the week of service that supported Thanksgiving in the Park, and their efforts were seen in the smiles of the children who got a warm meal, a chance to play in the park with our CYO corn-hole and kick-ball games, and enjoy a moment of warmth and love of the community. When we found out that a community was too afraid to come to the park due to the recent ending of Haitian temporary residency permits, we put food into a minivan and drove it to their community. Finally, once everyone had their fill of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, pie, and tortillas, we were able to provide several trays of turkey to the Guadalupe Social Services Soup Kitchen. They will be making turkey stew for homeless that were not able travel to the park.