PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — WKRG News 5 followed up with the Pensacola butcher shop Costello’s, which has been changing the lives of hundreds of underprivileged kids in an area many forget about.
Costello’s started giving out free lunches when the pandemic hit, and with the help of volunteers and other organizations, the business has now distributed over 43,000 meals to the community.
The business is now a place many residents call home.
Adaline Brown says, “We call them our Costello’s family. She is like another mom to me. She loves me she cares for me she does everything for me. I love her. “
Adaline is one of the many kids who consider the Costello family a blessing. The shop is located in an area of Pensacola that some would say is “struggling.” However, the Costellos have made more of an impact than they ever imagined, spending countless hours every day making lunches for children who don’t know when the next time they might see a meal.
This is something the community hasn’t taken for granted either. Owner Christie Costello tells WKRG News 5 after Hurricane Sally hit and many stores were being broken into, she drove up to her shop with an unexpected surprise.
“There was a group that were sitting out front, and we had no power on this whole entire block so I said… ‘Can I help you?'” Costello said. “‘No, we are here to just watch your store and make sure nothing happens to it. Everything will be alright… you fed our kids and we are here to help you.'”
Although they stay humble with their generosity, their main goal is to build character and relationships for their new “extended family members.”
Costello says, “They have to tell me something they learned, where they are at in school and if they want something extra, they give me reports.”
Christie’s brother Jery Feran, who works alongside her, tells WKRG News 5 they can’t even believe the changes they have seen.
Feran said, “The first day when these kids came in to now… The respect level, the manners, the complete 180, and now these little boys come in and you would never believe it’s that same kid.”
With the continuing need, the family says they are also in the works of opening the “Kimberly Tower Foundation” to help even more people. The name is in honor of their mother, who inspired them to do all this in the first place.
“She passed away in the midst of all of this, and she was a big help,” Costello said. “We are going to do it bigger.”
This new foundation will go beyond feeding kids to helping them with after-school studies and much more.
Adaline adds, “Thank you so much for helping me and letting me come here. Thank you for sponsoring me and helping me with food…”
If you would like to volunteer or help you can find more information, click here.