Volusia nonprofit receives check from NBA star’s mom after food drive with News 6

Healthy Souls International seeking help picking up large donations

Good news: Food drive, pet food giveaway help Central Florida communities
Good news: Food drive, pet food giveaway help Central Florida communities

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The food drive for nonprofit Healthy Souls International hosted by News 6 and the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office over the weekend was a slam dunk, and the community outreach didn’t end there.

After hearing about the food drive the nonprofit received a letter from Dr. Michelle Carter, the mother of NBA star and Daytona Beach native Vince Carter, along with a $2,200 donation from the Embassy of Hope Foundation.

Between Friday and Saturday, about 7,000 pounds of food and supplies were donated to Healthy Souls International. The nonprofit is working to distribute resources to some of the most vulnerable residents in Volusia County and around Central Florida by offering groceries, personal hygiene products and toilet paper to those most at risk for coronavirus.

The nonprofit delivers goods to people who are restricted to leave their homes, including those over 65 years old, a suppressed immune system or anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Healthy Souls founder Maria Davila said the nonprofit also received more than $5,000 in donations this weekend, including a $2,200 donation from Carter’s organization, Embassy of Hope Foundation.

Dr. Michelle Carter sent a letter with her contribution.

“It was heartwarming to see the community coming together to donate food to assist those in need during this horrendous COVID-19 pandemic,” she wrote.

Carter recently announced the 2020 season will be his last in the NBA. Due to the coronavirus the Atlanta Hawks player may have already played his final NBA game.

“I would like to offer this donation in the amount of $2,200 to honor the 22-year NBA career of my son,” Michelle Carter wrote. “Vince loves his hometown of Daytona Beach and the surrounding municipalities. Like me, he wants our friends and neighbors, here, to be alright.”

Atlanta Hawks guard Vince Carter (15) acknowledges the crowd as he is introduced during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Healthy Souls still needs help from the community. Davila said the nonprofit has lost out on some donations because they don’t have a truck that can handle large pallets of food and supplies.

“In the past getting over 80,000 lbs. of supplies to the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian, and over 100 tents and supplies to Puerto Rico after the earthquakes cost us 1,000’s in truck rentals,” she said. “Then yesterday after filling a trailer that was a business owner generously allowed us to use, ended up getting stuck on the side of the road. We had to go and unload it into each of our vehicles making multiple trips because it had more weight than it could handle.”

Over the next few weeks, the nonprofit plans to ramp up its work helping the community with more food drives to help continue its mission.

“We also are praying we can be prepared for Hurricane season which is less the a month away,” Davila said. “We desperately need our own truck. We are on the look out for a 26’ ft with a lift gate & a pallet jack, because we don’t have a forklift.”

Anyone who would like to help Healthy Souls find a vehicle to help support its mission can contact Davila at 386-679-1359 or by visiting www.healthysoulsinternational.org.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood carries donated items from a car on Saturday, May 2, 2020 during a food drive for Healthy Souls International hosted by News 6 and the Sheriff's Office. (Image: Healthy Souls International) (WKMG 2020)