The gift of giving is a wonderful feeling. It’s a happy moment seeing the smile on someone’s face as they receive a gift picked just for them. But this isn’t the only reason it’s good to give. Studies show that giving has added health benefits for the charitable giver. However, giving also makes the world a better place. That’s why for the past eight years, Gecko has been helping to feed children during the Thanksgiving Day holiday season.
Food for Children
The Gecko 8th Annual Turkeys for Tots event was a success! What started out locally in Fort Myers has since expanded to help surrounding communities and serving hundreds of families. Gecko’s corporate staff, franchise partners, recruiters and colleagues raised over $2,200 to purchase 400 turkeys this holiday season. The turkeys were donated the Friday before Thanksgiving to families in need. They were distributed through St Joseph the Worker Food Pantry in Moorehaven, FL and St Margaret’s Church in Clewiston, FL.
Many businesses say they care about their community. But it’s really special when the people in the business actually put boots on the ground to serve others. “It’s important that we give back to the community,” said Robert Krzak, President, Gecko Hospitality. “We do this because we know there are many children who go hungry all too often across Southwest Florida. This year was especially important because of Hurricane Ian.”
Because of the hurricane, 68% of citrus crops in the area were affected. This dramatically impacted the families and economies in the areas of Moorehaven, Clewiston, and Labelle. And it’s not just providing food for those in need. While that is extremely important, the act of giving to another, especially after a devastating storm does so much more. Helping others offers hope. It lets others know that there are people who care about them. Small boosts given to those in need can have a profound impact on their resilience and power to move ahead.
Impactful Giving is a Team Effort
Gecko’s corporate team spent two days on this year’s Turkeys for Tots event. On the first day, Gecko along with the Knights of Columbus at St Columbkille Catholic Church went looking for turkeys. Because of the storm as well as food shortages, this wasn’t an easy task. They scoured Fort Myers and were able to purchase 400 plus turkeys with the received donations.
The next day, Gecko and Knights of Columbus team members delivered turkeys to the folks in Moorehaven and Clewiston. Both locations had people who were in desperate need of supplies, and more importantly, food.
Food: The Basic Necessity
Gecko Hospitality has been working with various charitable organizations including the Ronald McDonald House. “Our belief is that one can’t function very well in society on an empty stomach,” says Krzak. “When we give back to our community, we want to give to fulfill that basic need.” Currently, research reveals that there are 2,252,050 people in Florida facing hunger, and of them 660,500 are children.
That’s 660,500 children too many! And it’s not simply a lack of snacks for kids. These are children missing meals for days. It’s common sense that food provides energy. Hunger and malnutrition create a self-sustaining barrier that keeps people stuck in poverty. Hunger makes it more difficult for a person to learn, work, pursue opportunities and contribute to society. It drains a person’s energy, destroys mental abilities, and exacts a heavy toll on health throughout his or her life.
“The number of people, especially children, who experience daily food insecurity in our area is astounding,” Krzak states. “It’s our hope to lessen this burden on Thanksgiving, a day of abundance and thankfulness across the country.”
Preparing for Next Year
Gecko Hospitality is looking forward to next year’s Turkeys for Tots event. It’s only feeding children in one area of the world. But it’s a great start to eliminating child hunger and the statistics that go along with it. These include:
- A child dying every 10 seconds from malnutrition
- Almost half the deaths among children under age five are caused by hunger
- 45 million children suffer from severe malnutrition every year
But the good news is that giving kids early and regular access to nutritious meals saves lives. That’s why we do it! Feel free to join us in making a difference in children’s lives.