Charity wants to make sure Collier County residents get Thanksgiving dinner on the table

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
thanksgiving baskets
NAMI Thanksgiving dinner baskets

The pandemic has created even more mental health challenges. With the holidays approaching, that could worsen. But one Collier County charity is trying to make sure that struggling families can host Thanksgiving dinner this year.

For Lina Garcia, the pandemic has been long and very overwhelming. “Oh my God I can’t,” Garcia said. “Sometimes it’s cry or sometimes you know it’s nervous because I don’t know what happened so probably tomorrow or next week, my family.”

Her employer cut her from the schedule from five to six days per week to two to three days per week. “Me is only the support for all the family,” said Garcia.

So, for her, getting a Thanksgiving box from NAMI in Collier County took some of the weight off of her shoulders.

Garcia said, “Received the call today I say I’ll bring the food for the turkey and I’m like ok thank God.”

Her family is just one of the 50 the charity helped on Tuesday alone.

Kristin Long is the Director of Development for NAMI in Collier County. “So we have everything they need for their Thanksgiving meal, greens beans corn turkey stuffing,” said Long.

Long, and others that work with NAMI, say it’s been a difficult eight months for families like Garcia’s, who have loved ones with mental health concerns.

“Many families lost their jobs that have not recovered since the pandemic started…so the financial struggles on top of the stressors they deal with as a family were just compounded by all this,” Long said.

So, while Garcia is anxious for life to get back to normal, she is also thankful for the trunk full of food she’s received. “I want to finish the pandemic!” Garcia said.

As much as COVID-19 has changed things, some traditions can stay the same. NAMI Collier County has shifted its whole business model during the pandemic, providing zoom support groups, daily wellness calls, and other resources.

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