Thousands gather in Immokalee to celebrate ‘Thanksgiving in the Park’

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IMMOKALEE, Fla.- More than 2,000 people got a warm Thanksgiving meal on Thursday as part of the Guadalupe Center’s “Thanksgiving in the Park.”

“A lot of people when they think of Thanksgiving, they have this concept of what’s there. My Thanksgiving was never ABC Family, traditional Thanksgiving. It was a park with a bunch of strangers who you kinda knew as a community, full of love, just trying to come together and celebrate Thanksgiving,” said Ivan Gijon Cruz.

Cruz says growing up, his family use to walk 5 to 10 miles to get to “Thanksgiving in the Park.” Now, the 20-year-old is volunteering his time.

“It’s a great change,” said Cruz. “You’re able to see hands on the impact you make. But not only that, for me, it sets me up to do something like this where I go.”

“A lot of love goes into this day. The volunteers just make it happen and were honored to be a part of it,” said Katherine Caskey, with the Guadalupe Center.

Thousands gathered at Immokalee Airport Park to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal, including all the fixings of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, and dessert.

Over 200 volunteers helped make the annual celebration happen. The Guadalupe Center has kept the tradition going for the past 34 years.




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