Guadalupe Center aims to provide presents to about 2,000 Immokalee children in 2021 – the most it’s ever served – through the nonprofit’s annual Holiday Gift Shop.

Through Dec. 10, Guadalupe Center is accepting new, unwrapped donations of age-appropriate toys, games, clothing, shoes and other gifts for infants through teenagers.

“Because Guadalupe Center has expanded to create additional educational opportunities for students in Immokalee, we also need to grow our outreach programs, including the Holiday Gift Shop,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “Thanks to generous supporters and local businesses, we have always reached our goal of making sure that all students attending Guadalupe Center, as well as their siblings, have a gift to unwrap on Christmas morning. We are hopeful the community will again step forward to brighten the holidays for families in Immokalee.”

In Immokalee, 97% of children are classified as “economically needy.” After their parents pay for rent, food, utilities and other expenses, there often isn’t enough money left to buy Christmas gifts.

“The pandemic has exacerbated financial challenges faced by low-income working families, and rising inflation is putting even more stress on the family budget,” said Robert Spano, vice president of programs at Guadalupe Center. “Every child should have a gift under the Christmas tree with their name on it, and the Holiday Gift Shop is our way of helping families create a memorable holiday season.”

Age-appropriate gift suggestions include:

  • Infants and toddlers (0-2 years): infant gyms and bouncers, rattles, baby dolls, stacking rings, light-up or musical toys, crib mobiles, bath toys
  • Preschool-age children (3-5 years): building blocks, baby dolls, wireless headphones or earbuds, remote-controlled cars, popular children’s characters and superheroes, activity sets, Play-Doh
  • School-age children (6-12 years): dolls, action figures, LEGO kits, wireless headphones or earbuds, musical instruments, sporting goods, popular children’s characters and superheroes, arts and crafts sets, riding toys, tablets, science lab kits
  • Teenagers (13-18 years): gift cards, wireless headphones or earbuds, Roku Express boxes, Bluetooth speakers, Fitbits, cell phone accessories, tablets

Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off through Dec. 10 at two locations in Collier County: Guadalupe Resale Shop, 12980 Tamiami Trail North, Unit 10, in Naples; and Guadalupe Center, 509 Hope Circle in Immokalee. Additionally, monetary donations can be made securely online at GuadalupeCenter.org/donate.

For more information, please contact Haley Thalheimer, community outreach and donor relations coordinator, at HThalheimer@GuadalupeCenter.org or 239-657-7120.

About Guadalupe Center
Guadalupe Center is a purpose-driven, nonprofit organization with proven results in creating endless possibilities for the students of Immokalee through education and fostering personal and academic success that leads to economic independence. With a focus on breaking the cycle of poverty through education, Guadalupe Center is proud of the children’s accomplishments: 95% meet or exceed kindergarten readiness measures, 100% of Tutor Corps high school seniors graduate high school and are accepted into college, and more than 94% graduate with a post-secondary degree.