Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Working Together to Serve the Essential Needs of East Trail

Photos by Maria Lamb | Volunteers fill blue bags with fresh fruits and vegetables at Allyson Richards garage with new helpers dropping off donations (Yvette Benarroch in red, JoAnn DeBartolo in black blouse, and Tom Ravana).

Each family received one blue bag of fresh produce provided by ODBFP.

It is a hot and steamy Friday morning and volunteers from AL’s Pals are busy filling up 70+ blue plastic bags with fresh fruits and vegetables which were provided by Our Daily Bread Food Pantry (ODBFP). ODBFP also provided eggs, meat, milk, a frozen meal such as pizza. AL’s Pals and its group of dedicated volunteers were getting ready for an afternoon delivery to families on the I-41 Corridor of East Naples. 

Each week, the mobile food pantry goes to several locations to serve individuals with limited mobility and those who are unable to attend the ODBFP Saturday’s Pantry Day at the Winterberry location.  

In Collier County, Florida’s largest county (by land size), 22% live in povertythe state average is 15%. Poverty for children is growing at a 72% rate for Collier County while the rest of the state averages 33%. The ODBFP serves 43% children, 48% adults and 9% seniors.  

Most of the homes visited this Friday are rural properties with gravel or unpaved roads. With the recent afternoon downpour, most of the roads were flooded. With the schools being closed, there is a real concern for the children’s wellbeing. There are also seniors living in these communities. Most of the residents and their families belong to the migrant workforce. 

Volunteers from AL’s Pals went knocking on doors and made home deliveries and did not leave until all the homes were accounted for. The smiles of gratitude and the chatter from the moms and children said it all.

Big thanks to Ron and Nancy McClay and their team at the ODBFP who packed an additional 70 brown bags for delivery. Each brown bag contained cereal, beans, pasta, rice, canned meat, canned tomatoes or spaghetti sauce, canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly, canned vegetable, macaroni and cheese, even oatmeal. 

Big thanks goes to For the Love of Cats who donated dog and cat food, and to Alliance for Period Supplies from Estero. These feminine products were packaged in special pink bags with pink bows. 

Allyson Richards of AL’s Pals also would like to thank the donations she received from Pat Sherry and Debbie Blaine of the Women’s Republican Club of Naples Federated and from JoAnn DeBartolo of the Patriots for Trump Club. According to Richards, she will divide the donations between the groups that she works with and with some of the money, she will buy beds, beddings and food. She has on many occasions delivered beds and appliances to families in need. 

ODBFP primarily serves Marco, East Naples and South Naples residents, many of whom work on the island or in Goodland. For more information about the Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, visit www.ourdailybreadfoodpantry.com or call 239-259-5188. 

Families waiting for the mobile food pantry in the rain.

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