Families in need receive Thanksgiving meals

Reporter: Kellie Miller Writer: Paul Dolan
Published: Updated:

Fresh Thanksgiving meals were delivered to 13 families in need by volunteers in Southwest Florida.

Deborah Mecalo knows what the meaning of Thanksgiving is.

“I am thankful for everybody that I have met throughout this journey because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be this far as I am now,” Mecalo said.

Volunteers with United Way and Finemark Bank surprise Mecalo and her kids with a traditional turkey dinner.

“The best advice that I can give somebody is that you can do it…it can be done. Don’t ever give up,” Mecalo said.

Mecalo and her kids lived in a domestic violence shelter for four months before moving to their own home.

“Everybody, since I’ve been here, has been so nice here in Florida…the act shelter, they did everything that they could to put my feet on the floor and they helped me get this apartment,” Mecalo said. “They helped me get my school supplies for my children…they helped me get the school clothes and uniforms.”

It took Mecalo just two weeks to find a new job after losing her previous job after Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida.

“No matter what happens you gotta keep going…and with a positive attitude…because when you are positive, positive things happen,” Mecalo said.

She’s home with her family on Thanksgiving.

The whole family can enjoy a holiday weekend thanks to a couple of local volunteers, Sophia and Olivia Cabrera.

“Now is the time to know that one, you are not alone and two, there is always someone who is willing to give and help,” Sophia said.

“This time has shown more than ever that we are a community and everybody is here for each other just to lend a hand…and I think Thanksgiving is a really good way to show that and especially after everything this community has been through,” Olivia said.

Going the extra mile, Sophia, Olivia, and other volunteers surprised Mecalo with a Christmas tree.

United Way and FineMark Bank volunteers served 114 meals over the last couple of days.

They said they will continue to provide food to families in need this holiday season.

If you are in need of a hot meal dial 211 and that will connect you to United Way.

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