Immokalee, Collier leaders dedicate Guadalupe Center Resource Hub

Guadalupe Center Resource Hub - ribbon cutting

Leaders from Southwest Florida social services agencies, government organizations and local businesses gathered April 18 in Immokalee to dedicate the new Guadalupe Center Resource Hub, a centrally located storage and distribution center to support families in need.

The 3,200-square-foot warehouse, adjacent to Guadalupe Center’s Monaghan Family Early Childhood Education Campus, was purchased with a $300,000 grant from the Collier Community Foundation. The April 18 celebration included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and warehouse tours that offered perspective to community leaders whose organizational missions can be better fulfilled with the additional storage capacity.

The Resource Hub securely houses in-kind donations intended for families in Immokalee, including books and school supplies, hygiene items, non-perishable food, furniture, clothing, cleaning supplies, household tools and emergency preparedness supplies. Local organizations obtain donated goods from generous businesses, distributors and other suppliers.

“Many hard-working families in Immokalee struggle just to pay rent, food, utilities and transportation, and simply don’t have the resources to pay for things that many of us consider essential, such as diapers, shampoo, laundry soap and school supplies,” said Dawn Montecalvo, president and CEO of Guadalupe Center. “Immokalee is fortunate to have a range of social service agencies operating here, but until now, the lack of temporary storage options presented a significant challenge in getting donations to the families that need them.”

For example, Guadalupe Center maintains a partnership with World Vision, a global humanitarian organization that provides monthly in-kind donations to distribute throughout the community. Previously, the lack of warehouse storage forced Guadalupe Center to clear out space in a student cafeteria or empty offices until items could be distributed.

The Collier Community Foundation provided the grant through its Collier Comes Together Hurricane Relief Fund, one of more than 850 that the philanthropic organization manages. Collier Comes Together provided immediate relief to those impacted by Hurricane Ian and local nonprofits that support families in the aftermath of a crisis.

“One of the biggest problems we had after Hurricane Ian was storage,” said Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president and CEO of the Collier Community Foundation. “People from all over Florida wanted to donate supplies, but we had nowhere to keep them. We are happy to be part of the solution by funding the Guadalupe Center Resource Hub, which will help solve storage issues in Immokalee and provide resources in the event of an emergency.”

Ellie Ramirez, Guadalupe Center’s director of community services, will coordinate donations and distributions through the Resource Hub.

Community Partners

In addition to the Collier Community Foundation, community partners for the Guadalupe Center Resource Hub include Ferguson, Uline, 911 Restoration Naples-Fort Myers, American Red Cross – South Florida Region, Baby Basics of Collier County, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Venice, Collier Cares, Collier County Emergency Management, Collier Disaster Assistance, Communities of Everglades Disaster Recovery, David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health, Disaster Ready Collier County, Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida, Immokalee Unmet Needs Coalition, Midwest Food Bank, Meals of Hope, Naples Children & Education Foundation, Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, St. Matthew’s House, St. Vincent de Paul Society of Naples, The Salvation Army of Collier County, United Way of Collier and the Keys, and World Vision.