Groups bring Thanksgiving in a basket to Hurricane Maria's victims

By Stephanie Bechara, Osceola County Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, November 16, 2017, 9:29 PM EST

Thanksgiving won't be the same for the thousands of families who have come here from Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria. One local business is doubling their efforts, putting together this year's Basket Brigade to make sure these families have dinner on the table.

  • Basket Brigade distributes hundreds of baskets to needy families
  • Among the needy this Thanksgiving: Hurricane Maria victims
  • La Rosa Realty, Osceola County School District, needs more volunteers

Six weeks after Maria, Osceola County is getting 70-80 Puerto Rican students enrolling a day.

“And these families come with nothing. I mean they have lost everything. And having to leave their homes,” said Dr. Debra Pace, the superintendent for Osceola County School District, “Many of them leaving other family members behind. So we are just so excited that we can help brighten their day.”

La Rosa Realty, along with the school district and non-profits like Housing 4 All, are coming together to hand deliver 1,000 Thanksgiving baskets to families in need, many of them temporarily in Central Florida from Puerto Rico.

The Osceola County School District has supplied the group with the contact information of families who may need a little extra help.

“Of our students, 81 percent of them are at the poverty level or below,” said Leslie Campbell, the director of special programs for the district. “And we have over 1,600 students that have been displaced from Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria, so there is just a huge need out there. And I am just so proud and excited about my work family that everybody stepped up.”

“Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in Celebration at our corporate office. If anyone wants to come out and help out, we need definitely even more baskets,” said Joseph La Rosa, the CEO and Founder of La Rosa Realty. “And we definitely need volunteers as well. With over 1,000 baskets, we have a lot of baskets to definitely disburse that day, so we’ll definitely need some help there as well.”

While these families are away from home this holiday, the hope here is that they can still feel the warmth of the season.

If you would like to participate in donating a basket:

  • Buy a laundry basket
  • Purchase food for basket
  • Fill and decorate basket

Items to fill basket with:

  • Baking/roasting pan
  • $10 grocery gift card (for a turkey)
  • Can of corn
  • Can of cranberries
  • Box of stuffing
  • Box/bag of mashed potatoes
  • Can/box of gravy
  • Can of green beans
  • Can of cream of mushroom soup
  • Bag of rolls
  • Pre-made pumpkin pie
  • Rice

The basket deliveries will happen at the La Rosa Realty, 1420 Celebration Blvd., Celebration, FL 34747, on Saturday, Nov. 18. at 9 a.m.

Branch offices (where you can drop off baskets):

  • Lake Nona
    7444 Narcoossee Rd. #414
    Orlando, FL 32822
  • Kissimmee
    3032 Dyer Blvd.
    Kissimmee, FL 34741
  • Celebration
    1420 Celebration Blvd. 2nd Fl
    Kissimmee, FL 34747
  • Orlando
    1805 W. Colonial Dr.
    Orlando, FL