Resident Phyllis James cooks on a makeshift grill for her fellow residents at Bromelia Place in Immokalee following Hurricane Irma. Her own mixture of meat and beans is what James put together before the food supply ran out at the senior living complex.
Bromelia Place located on North 11th Street in Immokalee is a low-income senior citizen rental complex. Unlike assisted living facilities, Bromelia Place is not required to have staff on hand to ensure residents are safe during natural disasters. Since Hurricane Irma made landfall on Sunday, September 10, 2017, the residents at Bromelia Place have been without electricity like many others in Immokalee. However, things are a bit different for the residents at Bromelia Place. As the threat from Hurricane Irma grew closer, some local residents evacuated north. Residents at Bromelia Place didn’t have that option as most residents in the complex do not have access to personal transportation. As the days went by without air conditioning and the ability to cook food inside, residents built makeshift grills with cement blocks and oven racks in order to cook what food they had left before it went bad. On Wednesday, resident Phyllis James stood in front of Bromelia Place and cooked what the residents had left. Her own mixture of meat and beans is what James threw together to help feed her neighbors.
A resident of Bromelia Place helps cook in the parking lot following Hurricane Irma.
That day, the Florida National Guard was contacted and they were informed of the dire situation unfolding at Bromelia Place. A Staff Sergeant working at the State Farmers Market on New Market Road helped coordinate enough water and food to get the residents through the next 24-48 hours. Ginger Moff, a resident in Georgia, heard about the situation at Bromelia Place on Facebook and immediately reached out to a friend at the American Red Cross in Atlanta. Their office then contacted a concerned individual in Immokalee who verified the situation at Bromelia Place. Within a couple of hours, the American Red Cross and Salvation Army responded to Bromelia Place to ensure that the residents would be taken care of going forward. Nita Perry, a resident at Bromelia Place, was overcome with joy when she learned that outside help was coming to her and her neighbors. She wanted to thank everyone involved in making sure someone cared about them.