SWFL woman hosts dinner for those alone on Christmas

This year, a Southwest Florida woman is making an effort to give back, and it’s putting her in the spotlight.

Some might say the spirit of Christmas is the sparkling lights, others might say the gifts, and most would probably say it’s family.

“Life is meant to be lived in community, not in isolation,” Brendaliz Valentin said.

Valentin — a single mom of three — won’t be spending this Christmas with her family. So she thought she should spread a little holiday cheer to those who might not feel as much joy this time of year.

“I’m not the only one alone on Christmas day,”” Valentin said. “There’s others like me who don’t have someone to share this beautiful day with.”

With the help of some friends, Valentin turned Clemente Park in Fort Myers into a winter wonderland.

Complete with her Santa hat, Valentin pulled out all the stops — music, decorations, a Christmas buffet and some quality time.

Ask anyone who visited, and they’ll tell you Valentin is a regular Mrs. Claus. So what does Valentin believe is the spirit of Christmas?

“Just being able to come here to the park and share some time with them,” Valentin said. “Let them know that there’s people within the community that care about them genuinely.”

Valentin said she plans to save up her earnings, so she can host another Christmas celebration for a third consecutive year next holiday season.

Reporter:Sara Girard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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