Oakland Park is a small city of just over 45,000 residents, but it’s small size doesn’t prevent it from doing things in a big way. When it comes to helping one another Oakland Parkers always go big and they never go home until the deed is done. This spirit of caring and charity was especially evident this Easter weekend when a group of Oakland Parkers put together donations, quite literally overnight, in order to insure a Happy Easter Sunday for 36 different local families.
It all started just a couple of days ago on Friday afternoon when Coby King, founder of the Teen Alliance Project and an employee with BSO outreach, was overwhelmed with calls from families in need of assistance. These families were particularly worried about how they were going to be able to provide a decent meal for their families on Easter Sunday. King, not one to sit idly by, picked up the phone and called Oakland Park’s Vice Mayor, Jane Bolin. He told Bolin of the need in the community and immediately they began formulating a plan to make sure those families in need would have food on their tables this Easter, a little more than 36 hours away.
Bolin made a phone call to Rick Melillo, Oakland Park Kiwanis President, and Melillo set his organization into action to pull together dry food donations for the care package deliveries. Bill Tobias, also from Oakland Park Kiwanis, was instrumental in helping organize the drive at Mt. Zion Church in Oakland Park. Oakland Park’s Urban Farming Institute donated fresh greens, Chainbridge Distillery donated hand sanitizer, and Living In Oakland Park donated re-usable grocery bags in which to put the donations. Dawn Bossaller and Eric Schecter donated cash for items that would be needed to complete the care packages.
Packing Bags for Delivery
Fully masked and gloved, on Saturday April 11th, Jane Bolin along with Mayor Matt Sparks, Commissioner Tim Lonergan, Mitch Rosenwald, Aisha Gordon, Paul McDermott, Coby King and Sandra Edwards got together and started packing bags for delivery. Edwards planned the delivery route and the crew of seven set out delivering goods to the families in need.
After making his deliveries, Commissioner Lonergan, commented on Bolin’s Facebook post sharing the event “The residents expressed their sincerest thanks to everyone who made the donations possible. GO TEAM!“.
Other participants that delivered food expressed a similar sentiment of appreciation on behalf of the recipients .
Aisha Gordon, an Oakland Park Resident, who participated in the effort commented that:
“… The seniors that I delivered to were so appreciative to receive the bags of food. Their faces were lit up with big smiles of gratitude. They all sent their “thank you’s”. There is no other place I would have rather been than delivering the bags of food to seniors citizens in our communities. It was an exemplary and most rewarding experience to participate in the effort. Thanks to Mr. Coby King, Vice Mayor Jane Bolin and all the people who contributed and participated in this worthy cause. Thank you!”
Mayor Matt Sparks conveyed that:
“Each one of the families were both surprised and extremely appreciative. I believe they were also somewhat shocked that they were personally being thought of during this time. As for me, after leaving the last home, which I personally knew the family, I felt wonderful! It made me extremely appreciative of how much I have and what a joy it is to see firsthand how just a few bags of groceries and essentials can make someone’s day. I can’t wait to do it again. #TogetherOaklandPark”.
By any measure the effort was a total success. As Bolin noted on her Facebook page “The community of Oakland Park works together to support our residents in need. Feels good. Doing good!“.