We want to recognize and extend a heartfelt thank you to the volunteers, staff, donors, and community partners who have gone above and beyond to lend their time, talent, treasures, and voice to make a difference for Grace Place and its families, especially now. You are all heroes to us.

During these challenging times, we’re taking a moment to celebrate and to shine a light on our #GracePlaceHeroes. Thank you for your dedication. You are an inspiration. Patty Urrutia is our first #GracePlaceHero in the spotlight.

Patty has been running the Grace Place food pantry since it opened twelve years ago. Nearly every week for over a decade she has overseen the distribution of emergency food supplies to families in our community. She is known by her colleagues for her dedication, her get-it-done attitude, her grace under fire, and her enormous heart – all of which were on display at an especially stressful recent food pantry.

Patty received a call Saturday morning from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. An unfortunate communication of misinformation had left over 150 cars waiting in an empty parking lot for a food distribution that was never scheduled to happen. The officers asked if they could escort the vehicles to the Grace Place pantry.

In an immediate response, Patty quickly mobilized staff and volunteers to prepare for the arrival of the surplus of cars, full of families in need of food. She pulled reserve supplies and coordinated with the Harry Chapin Food Bank to arrange an emergency food drop. When the day was through, the team, including the Collier County Sheriff Officers, had worked together to safely distribute food to over 600 families.

Chrissie Missal, our development relationships manager, worked with Patty that day and was left in awe. “Patty was amazing. Before I even knew what was coming, Patty had a plan and was assembling help to make it happen. It ran very smoothly and we were able to help a lot of people! I fear we will only continue to see our food pantry numbers rise in the coming weeks.”

Thank you Patty, for all you do. You are a #GracePlaceHero!
Join us online, May 5th, for #GivingTuesdayNow, as we continue to spotlight and celebrate our #GracePlaceHeroes on the global day of unity. If you’d like to nominate a #GracePlaceHero, please contact Ashlea Heck atashlea@graceplacenaples.org.