It’s that time of year again when efforts begin revving up to provide holiday meals and gifts for those who need help, and lots of groups and individuals are stepping up to help out.
But the season of giving expands far beyond the holidays in The Laker/Lutz News coverage area.
On any given day, the newspaper receives emails detailing the good works being done. Requests pour in, too, seeking help to put the word out for a wide array of charity events.
The communications are telling. They paint a picture of a community that cares.
Here’s a look at just a few of the dozens of charitable acts performed in recent months, by young and old residents of Central Pasco, East Pasco and Northern Hillsborough counties.
In response to Typhoon Haiyan that killed thousands in the Philippines and rendered others without food or shelter, the Rev. Federico Agnir of Wesley Chapel had a charity benefit on Nov. 24 at Atonement Lutheran Church. The concert was free, but donations were collected for the Pacific Typhoon Response Fund of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
The Zephyrhills Historical Association also had a recent fundraiser at Ruby Tuesday in Zephyrhills. The restaurant donated 20 percent of diner proceeds for the fundraiser to support the Rosemary Trottman Scholarship Fund. The scholarship goes to a qualified Zephyrhills High School graduate.
Other examples of the community’s giving nature abound.
Nearly 600 hikers turned out for Hike for Hospice, on Nov. 10 at the Land O’ Lakes campus of Rasmussen College on State Road 54. The event raised more than $56,000 to support programs at Hospice Houses and bereavement centers from Gulfside Regional Hospice, as well as to help patients and their families facing life-limiting illnesses in Pasco County, according to a news release.
The GFWC Lutz-Land O’Lakes Woman’s Club routinely stages events to raise money, which in turn, benefits groups ranging from scout troops, to domestic violence survivors, to the homeless.
Woman’s club members Joan Collins and Pat Serio recently delivered a truckload of infant and toddler clothing to Alpha House of Tampa. It helps homeless pregnant women and mothers with young children by providing a safe place to live and equipping women with tools to become self-sufficient.
Throughout the year, Gloria Dale, another woman’s club member, signs cards that are shipped during the holidays to military personnel overseas, and delivered to residents at local nursing homes.
Other groups also work all year long to show their support for the troops.
Support the Troops in Wesley Chapel ships boxes including microwaves, refrigerators, televisions, snack foods, coffee and other items to military personnel overseas. The Lutz Patriots sends care packages, including snacks, personal hygiene supplies and other items to the troops, too.
Patricia Murphy of Land O’ Lakes enlists local businesses and volunteer groups to help her organization, Books for Troops. The books are distributed to military personnel and at local nursing homes.
Members of the men’s group at Grow Life Church in Wesley Chapel performed a personal act of support for a member of the military. They decided to restore a 1998 Honda Prelude owned by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Matt Feldhouse while he was deployed in Kyrgyzstan.
The car broke down before Feldhouse went overseas. While he was gone, the men’s church group rallied local businesses and others to help support the project and made the needed repairs.
They surprised Feldhouse at an event at The Shops at Wiregrass, a popular venue for many community events, which often are coupled with fundraising efforts for local charities.
For instance, this year The Shops will host a new event called The Wiregrass Wobble Turkey Trot, with proceeds from the Thanksgiving morning race going to Feeding America Tampa Bay and local charities through New Tampa Rotary Foundation and the New Tampa YMCA.
Local chambers of commerce also commit acts of kindness, often sponsoring student of the month celebrations and scholarships and getting involved in cleanups and other community projects.
The Lutz Civic Association drums up support for community organizations through its annual race for Lutz Guv’na. This year’s candidates raised $12,596, which was distributed to support various community organizations.
The race for honorary mayor in Wesley Chapel also raises funds, which are used to support the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce and local causes.
Some networking groups also get into the act.
The Christian Business Connection, a Central Pasco group, hands out a number of checks each year. Recently, the group donated $250 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay, using funds from the networking group’s membership dues.
Women-n-Charge, a women’s networking group, presents an annual fundraising tea to raise money to support two $1,000 grants to help women advance their business goals. This year’s fundraiser went so well the group raised extra money, so they also contributed $1,000 to A Woman’s Place, a ministry devoted to providing free help to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
Bigger organizations get involved, too.
For example, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point recently kicked off its “Connected in Times of Need” campaign. This four-week effort is aimed at raising money to provide emergency funds to help Hospital Corporation of America employees and their families when they face extreme financial hardships. Those difficulties can arise from a natural disaster, an extended illness or another kind of tragedy.
More than $15 million has gone to help more than 14,000 employees and their families since the fund was established in 2005, according to a hospital news release.
Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel also is involved in various community events. In August, for instance, it sponsored a seminar to help educate parents, coaches and athletes about the dangers of concussions, and steps to reduce the risks of concussion injuries.
The list of charitable acts through The Laker/Lutz News’ coverage area goes on and on. Perhaps it is best represented, however, by Jack Buttafuoco, 9, who took it upon himself to conduct a summer food drive to help fight hunger locally.
The Seven Oaks resident collected canned foods, pasta, peanut butter and other items from friends, family and neighbors to help stock the pantry at Feeding America Tampa Bay-Suncoast Branch. He even pitched in $26 of his allowance.
Buttafuoco said he decided to do the food drive because it makes him feel sad when he thinks of others who are hungry.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.