By Janet Levine, Campaign Manager, and Francie Hunt, Campaign Organizer
The Alina Valdes campaign is up and running. Among other efforts, we are implementing outreach into District 25 areas such as Immokalee and Clewiston. This Saturday, March 10, candidates Alina Valdes and Jennifer Boeddeker (FD 80), accompanied by volunteers will attend a Meet and Greet with community leaders. We look forward to the meeting in Hendry County and hearing the communities’ concerns and top issues.
We regularly attend the Immokalee Interagency Coordinating Council meetings held the second Wednesday of each month at the Career Source SW FL, 750 S. 5th St, Immokalee, where up to 50 agencies and organizations share info, updates and needs.
Every first Saturday of the month we send volunteers to participate in Ciclovia 10.00 a.m. to noon, an event sponsored by FGCU School of Medicine to promote health and wellness in the community. About 20 organizations participate each month. Democratic candidates are welcomed enthusiastically. A week ago, campaign manager Francie Hunt and volunteers donated 13 bikes. Next month we will attend a Baby Shower for expectant mothers.
On February 27, we attended the Immokalee Interagency Coordinating Council on Unmet Needs in Immokalee Conference. The conference addressed unmet needs for the community specifically in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. This was an all-day conference with excellent speakers and discussion of issues ranging from lack of affordable housing and transportation services, health services, predatory loan services, slow response from FEMA and other relevant topics. Representatives of 50 organizations were present.
Among many startling facts that emerged about the plight of our neighbors in Immokalee, one is that the area is grouped with Naples/Marco Island by the Community Reinvestment Act. Median Family Income figures for low income families living there are significantly inflated, meaning they don’t qualify for as much assistance as those living in “nonmetro portions of Florida”. More families would qualify if the CRA used this more appropriate metric. This is an example of an unmet need that can addressed by a representative to Congress but has not yet been addressed.