How A 100% Volunteer-Driven Nonprofit Sparked Community Involvement and Delivered 17,500 Baskets Full of Hope to Florida’s Space Coast Families in Need
By: Julie Kirchner
It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving 2020, and a 10-year-old boy dances in the rain. Soaking wet but cheerfully oblivious, he enthusiastically directs cars while his Dad loads frozen turkeys that will be delivered to families in need. It is the first year this father and son have volunteered at the Space Coast Thanksgiving Basket Brigade in Viera, Florida. For the four years prior, they had been recipients of a basket—they had been the family in need. Now, in a better place and wanting to give back, they donate to support families and volunteer their time.
“This is the impact, this is why we do what we do, and why it’s so important to us,” says Jacqueline (Jackie) Giurleo, President of the Space Coast Basket Brigade. “We never set out to become a charity or this large, we were just trying to do the right thing, and something kind for others.”
- In 2009, in the wake of an economic recession, a family set out to make a difference in their hurting Space Coast community. In the twelve years since their work began, the Space Coast Basket Brigade has grown to 2,000 annual volunteers, fed more than 17,500 families in need, supported over 130 schools and local charities, and created countless stories of hope to last a lifetime.
- In 2019, over 2000 volunteers (50% youth volunteers) joined in to package, decorate, and personally deliver 4,983 Thanksgiving Baskets to families in need. And last year—during a global pandemic that completely paused many charity organizations and a concurring food shortage that impacted store shelves nationwide—the Basket Brigade persevered to deliver over 3,000 meals to families who needed help more than ever.