News & Events
Spring Message from Marietta Bala
Consider a tree for a moment… As beautiful as trees are to look at we don’t see what goes on underground. A tree must develop deep roots in order to grow strong, to branch out and to bear fruit.
I see the Café of Life to be like a tree. At first, we planted a seed. Our mission to “provide basic human needs to the very poor and hungry people of Bonita Springs in a manner that preserves the dignity of the client in a respectful environment” is our foundation. We cultivate and nurture the sapling with years of care. This is done by a diligent board of directors who makes good decisions and policies, and a hard-working operations committee and staff who take responsibility for helping the operations run smoothly. But to thrive the tree is dependent on outside elements as sunshine, water and fertilizer. This is provided by volunteers who cook, serve and share their talents in meaningful ways; our donors provide generously with caring hearts; our agency partners work with us to provide the best possible services; and the entire community is responsive and supportive to helping those in need to have enriched lives.
Our seed has grown into a beautiful tree with outstretch branches that bear much fruit. The trunk is our foundation of providing a healthy meal and basic needs at the site. Branches are reaching out to the migrants and poor communities to meet needs. We transport people to essential appointments; we help to find medical care; we empower women through a support group. We are helping more seniors, and are helping those who lost their home in the hurricane to make their home livable again.
Like branches of a tree we continue to grow in different directions but our roots remain our strength. All of this is possible through the Lord who said “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.
From a little seed grows a mighty tree. We are thankful and blessed.
Marietta Bala, Chairperson
Board of Directors
February 2018 Photos From Around the Cafe On The Gallery Page
It was very active in December at the Cafe. Take a look at the many photos we have collected
After School Transport
Our newest “branching out” initiative is to provide transport for children from Bonita Elementary School to their Saldivar community homes following the after school tutoring
program. These children are seriously challenged in school and in desperate need of assistance, but transportation was not available from either their parents or school so they
were unable to attend the tutoring.
Thanks to our volunteer drivers these children will now benefit from this vital assistance.
Report From Our Director Spring 2018
2017 turned out to be a unique year due to Hurricane Irma which left us closed
for two weeks and thrusted into helping those impacted. Natural disaster relief/
recovery was new to us but with the generosity of our donors and volunteers
we continue to provide assistance to flood victims. The year also brought us
expansion as we added a Transportation Program that offers clients rides to
essential services and we increased our outreach services.
We finished the year having served 17,378 hot meals using nearly 1,000
different volunteers donating nearly 13,000 hours, and thanks to our fantastic
donor base our finances are good. Our most sincere thanks to all the generous
people who made 2017 an outstanding year for the Café of Life.
– Jeff Nichols, Director
Monthly Spotlight for January: Pelican Landings
Pelican Landings Volunteers
One of Pelican Landings several teams, this one with team leader Lynn Corum, has been supporting the Cafe for many years. They serve monthly during the season with their most recent support on Jan 8. Pictured from left to right are: Lynn Corum, Darlene Bell, Beverly Haas, Janet & Mike Rogers. We thank them very much for their support!
Christmas Held At The Cafe’ of Life
There was a very special time at the Cafe’ as Christmas joy was spread to the greater community. Take a look at the many photos and fun.
Go to the Gallery Page to see photos of the event.
Thanksgiving Event Held At The Cafe’ of Life
Today the Cafe of Life served 125 people-in-need a very special Thanksgiving meal at Leitner Neighborhood Park in Bonita Springs.
Some 45 volunteers donated over 170 hours to organize, prepared and serve the meal.
De Simms was the event coordinator.
Clients were served at their table rather than then the normal going through the line themselves. The event started with a prayer.
In addition to the “traditional” Thanksgiving meal, the clients also had the opportunity to take many leftovers and to go through the robust take-home food pantry.
There was a special station for kids to decorate cookies.
Go to the Gallery Page to see photos of the event.
Spring Running Group Feature
The Spring Run community has been a longtime supporter of the Café. The team led by Paula Blake provides a meal once a month all year. The Spring Run community is also providing a meal regularly via Chef Steve and Manager Josh of their Country Club. We wish to thank everyone from Spring Run for their awesome support to those in need.
Naples Daily News Features Cafe’ of Life
Watch the Video!
Backpack, School Uniform and Supplies Give-A-Way
On July 28th the Cafe distribution 120 backpacks, school uniforms and supplies and shoes. We thank our sponsors for this wonderful event: Christian Brothers, Bob & Maureen Lorenz, Tom & Deloris Soik, Jan Gough, Eileen Rosenberg, Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Laces of Love.
Check out all the photos on the Gallery Page.