IMMOKALEE – Domingo Gaspar remembers what it was like to be in need during the holiday season. Though a Fort Myers native, Gaspar and his family of six now call the rural, migrant town of Immokalee home.
Burdened by the lostness and numerous needs in the community, the Gaspars have made it their mission to serve and reach Immokalee with the gospel.
“Everything we do is to proclaim the name of Jesus,” Gaspar said.
In partnership with their local congregation, Fellowship Church, the Gaspar family is known in the community for sharing the gospel, holding signs on street corners, hosting drive-thru prayer, volunteering at every outreach event made available to them, and serving food. Even on Thanksgiving Day.
“We could have spent Thanksgiving anywhere,” the layperson said. “But nothing was more important to us than to give a hot meal, but more importantly share the love of Jesus.”
One week before Thanksgiving, Gaspar decided to offer holiday meals on Main Street, one of the busiest areas for walking traffic in Immokalee. With absolutely no advertising ahead of time, the Gaspar family served over 100 meals that included grilled chicken and all the fixings.
Relying on donated goods, Gaspar and his family were able to connect with families, the homeless, and farmworkers. With the meat and fixings donated by Gaspar’s boss and local church, perhaps the greatest miracle was reaching a non-believing co-worker who volunteered to grill the meat.
“It is crazy to see people that have so little, willing to always give so much,” said Alvaro, Gaspar’s coworker. “On Thanksgiving, I really saw what God can do with a family willing to give,” he said.
Growing up in a broken home has taught Gaspar the true meaning of the holiday season. He and his wife, Angelina, know this year has brought many challenges, but also many opportunities to share the gospel with a community that so desperately needs it.
“We wanted to minister to those who have had a hard time providing for their family during the pandemic,” he said. “Everyone goes through some hard times. This is just one small way, as a family, we could help serve other families.”
“Through this ministry, we can show that God is really good no matter what.”
Ministry is not just something that Domingo and Angelina Gaspar do alone, it is a family affair. The couple’s four daughters, ranging from ages 3 to 14, always serve alongside their parents in ministry.
“It’s important to us to pass to our daughters a love for the church and a love to serve people,” Gaspar said.
After the Thanksgiving meal, Icie Gaspar, the couple’s 14-year-old daughter, said “Everyone was so grateful for the food. I would love to do it again.”
Needing a hot meal and someone to care and share the gospel is not limited to Thanksgiving Day. The Gaspars pray that other families, across the Sunshine State, realize that they can have a huge gospel impact on those in their community and can be a light.
“In doing this, we wanted people to know that Jesus is their provider and God loves them,” he said. “We are here to be a light.”
This December, the family will be assisting in the ministry of their home church during the Christmas Eve Service and the annual Happy Birthday Jesus Party, an outreach event where food, clothes, and gifts are distributed to people in the community.
The Gaspar family is looking forward to carrying on the tradition of providing holiday meals for those living in Immokalee for years to come.
“We don’t need a thank you or a pat on the back,” Gaspar said. “We did this for God’s glory and Kingdom.”