Estero mom, community collect hundreds of toys for Immokalee families
Immokalee residents heavily affected by Hurricane Irma will receive some Christmas cheer, thanks to a mother and a community that rallied around her.
Valentine Antel wanted to teach her son the true meaning of Christmas by starting a toy drive.
“It started off by wanting to show my son how to be thankful for the gifts he has, then I thought, why don’t I do it for the whole community?” Antel said.
Her goal to wrap 200 presents quickly doubled after dozens of members of the Stoneybrook Community Center in Estero donated money, toys and their time to help wrap gifts.
“It’s an incredible experience to be able to help all these people who don’t have anything for Christmas,” volunteer Jewel Faerber said.
Publix donated hundreds of cookies and Walmart donated a few gift cards.
The gifts will be passed out Thursday to kids and families in need at the Assembly of God Church in Immokalee.
“We’re all from different walks of life. This is the time we all go out, take the boundaries down and give a little love and happiness,” said Bill Reynolds, the president of the Homeowners Association at Stoneybrook Community Center.