When Major Serge LaLanne and Hugo Figuero set up their feeding unit in a shopping center parking lot in Punta Gorda, they were simply looking for a place to serve. They discovered a community in need and willing to embrace them as their own.
Employees in the store encouraged people to go out and get a meal. April, the manager beamed, “so many people come in smiling and saying it’s the first hot meal they’ve had since the storm. We are so grateful to have you guys here.”
One recipient asked them to convey thanks to the rest of The Salvation Army team, and Major LaLanne offered a pad of paper on which they could write a quick note. Major LaLanne then set the pad down and continued serving.
Throughout the day, more and more people added their notes of thanks until the pad was almost full.
“Thank you for your generosity and service to our community. Thank God for people like you.” - Paul and Beth
“Thank you so much. It’s a blessing to see you all out here for us. We appreciate you so much.” - Kelly
“Thank you so much. You don’t know what this means to someone who can’t even get into their house.” - Cindy
“Thank you for the help and the food. God bless, and you have a wonderful operation.” - Trent
“Through the trials and tribulations we go through, God will never leave our side, and The Salvation Army works by God’s side. Forever Grateful.” - Stephanie
“It’s been amazing,” said Hugo. “The storm didn’t care if you were rich or poor. Without power, everyone needs to eat. People are crying, and we just listen. It’s why we are here. We're showing God’s love with pulled pork and vegetables.”