UPDATE: Kate's friends have been updating us as to the conditions in Immokalee. They need a lot of help.
Having done a lot of research, I have concluded that the most cost efficient method of getting supplies to Immokalee is through a local Costco.I have been talking to the Costco in Estero FL. They will deliver for us and add to the order with their donation. The plan is for me to place an order with them, floating the cost on my credit card. I am working on a list of needed items. The Guadalupe center and Catholic Charities have put out a list and I will contact them to clarify a few things before I place the order. I am hoping to complete this tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has donated. I will post a list of all that we will be sending once I have confirmation from the Guadalupe Center.
**We are planning on sending non-perishable food, water, rice and beans, cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, towels, toiletries, batteries and flashlights, trash bags, detergent, first aid supplies, baby needs, and feminine hygiene needs,
I am from Maplewood, NJ but spent the last two years of my life in the migrant farming town of Immokalee, FL and have grown quite attached to the community. Immokalee is located in southwest Florida and is the center of the region's agriculture industry and home to many immigrant and migrant families who work the vast fields which produce a large amount of the United States' fresh produce. Crops include cucumbers, bell peppers, citrus and about 90% of the nation's tomatoes that are harvested during the winter months. The population is around 24,000, the people who live here come from many countries in South America to work in the United States and provide better opportunities for their families. I spent the last two years in this beautiful place, living and serving in the community through AmeriCorps, a national service organization.
This past weekend, Immokalee suffered immensely from Hurricane Irma. While some people left the area, many also stayed behind to weather the storm in their homes and in shelters because they did not have the resources to evacuate. All of the shelters were full and more had to be opened to accommodate everyone who needed shelter. Many are undocumented and are scared to reach out for help. This is also the same reason many people were scared to go to shelters and instead put their lives in danger by staying in their homes during the hurricane.
Immokalee is in one of the hardest hit areas in Florida. Many homes are trailers or habitat houses that could not withstand the heavy wind and rain. The fields where people work are flooded, meaning that they don't have a way to make money to repair their homes.
Although I recently left Immokalee to pursue a career in education, I deeply care about the community and want to do everything I can to help the community that supported me for two years. Now is the time to come together and help those in need, those who have lost everything.
My heart aches as I write this thinking about everyone in this precious town. Although there is a lot of sadness and despair right now, this is a community that looks out for one another. This is evident everywhere as people are already helping each other cleanup, neighbors and strangers alike.
Even if you don't know these people or have never heard of Immokalee, I hope you will consider helping them during this time. After tragedies most people want to help but don't know how to directly make an impact.
This is the community that is growing the food that we eat everyday, please consider taking this opportunity to directly help families in need! If you are moved to help this special community as they begin to rebuild, please consider donating to this fund. I guarantee that all funds will go directly to families in need and I will keep you all updated with their progress. Any money donated will be used to buy basic necessities that were lost in the storm; food, blankets, household items, clothing, etc.
Thank you so much for reading this ️
-Kathleen (Kate) Chappelear
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