The high school entrepreneurs of Taste of Immokalee have already placed their salsas and hot sauces on grocery store shelves around Florida, and during the holidays, they also put together gift bundles that can be ordered online. Like all of Taste of Immokalee's products, 100 percent of the profits from the sales of those bundles goes to fund job-training and scholarship programs for young people in Immokalee.
The theme of this year's bundles is "Taste the Joy," and the different packages include salsas, hot sauces, barbecue sauces, tortilla chips, cookies made by Naples' Mikkelsen's Pastry Shop and even a Taste of Immokalee-branded apron.
If you're not familiar with Taste of Immokalee, the company was created by a group of high school students, supported by a grant from a local nonprofit and helped by adult advisers. The company makes products that draw from the flavors of many of the countries the students come from—Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti and more—and uses produce picked by the migrant farmworkers who harvest fruits and vegetables from the fields in Immokalee, where the median household income is just over $30,000, compared to more than $53,000 in Florida as a whole.
Taste of Immokalee gives young people a chance to learn how to operate every aspect of a business, and money generated by sales of its products have helped give the city's students a boost when paying for tuition.