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Board brightens Christmas for Immokalee migrant workers’ children

Board Liaison Gale Boone, right, presents a gift to a parent during a gift wrapping program with the Redland Christian Migrant Association on Dec 19 in Immokalee.
Board Liaison Gale Boone, right, presents a gift to a parent during a gift wrapping program with the Redland Christian Migrant Association on Dec 19 in Immokalee.

IMMOKALEE — Christmas was more joyful for about 90 children of Immokalee migrant families thanks to a toy drive on the Immokalee reservation sponsored by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc.  Board Liaison Gale Boone delivered 142 unwrapped toys Dec. 19 to the Redland Christian Migrant Association, which cares for children up to age five at its two Immokalee day care centers.

“We chose RCMA because we felt theirs is the most needy group in this area,” Boone said. “The parents are migrants; they work in the fields, the packing houses late at night and they don’t have vehicles.”

As their children played outside on the playground, about 50 parents gathered in the RCMA cafeteria for gift wrapping. Each parent chose one gift per child and wrapped it onsite.

“Parents wrap them so the kids know the gifts came from a parent, not a stranger,” RCMA program specialist Ida Eguia wrote in an email. “This is a way to make our families feel good about themselves, and in the eyes of their children they are their heroes.”

To collect toys, the Immokalee community held a softball tournament and put collection boxes throughout the reservation. Tribal citizens, community members, elders and employees contributed to the effort.

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Beverly Bidney
Beverly Bidney has been a reporter and photographer for The Seminole Tribune since 2012. During her career, she has worked at various newspapers around the country including the Muskogee Phoenix in Oklahoma, Miami Herald, Associated Press, USA Today and other publications nationwide. A NAJA award winning journalist, she has covered just about everything over the years and is an advocate for a strong press. Contact her at beverlybidney@semtribe.com.
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