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HomeUncategorizedFlorida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches:  A Caring Facility of Productivity

Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches:  A Caring Facility of Productivity

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By: Linda White-Francis

Call it destiny, kismet, coincidental, meant-to-be or just being in the right place at the right time, Anthony Littrell 39, who manages the Sheriff’s Ranch Thrift Store in Spring Hill, Florida, calls himself a lucky guy.  Surprisingly, because of his charming southern accent, Littrell was born in San Francisco, California, and lived there until he was five years old, “then my parents moved us to Live Oak, Florida on the Suwannee River not far from the Georgia line,” he said.  “And basically that’s where I grew up,” Littrell went on. “I consider it my hometown,” he said proudly. Little will young Anthony Littrell realize at the time, as he grew into manhood, how much the town of Live Oak will figure in his life.

Littrell who has a business degree from the University of South Florida, said after graduation from college in 2009, he was having trouble finding a job in the Tampa area, so he moved back to Live Oak to see if he could do better. He eventually landed a great job with The Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch whose headquarters are located in Live Oak, and much to Littrell’s surprise they were looking for someone to manage their New Port Richey, Florida thrift store! “Guess it was meant to be,” he said about the coincidence. Littrell, a very polite and unassuming gentleman, lives in Hudson with his wife and one child.  He said his mother as well, still works for The Florida Sheriff’s Ranch Enterprises back home and has for years. 

Three years ago, (October 2017), after years of diligent work in New Port Richey, Littrell found out the Florida Sheriff’s Ranch had decided to relocate to a new store in Spring Hill. Littrell took it in stride, pulled-up his bootstraps, and came along good naturedly-basically starting all over again, but ready to build another thriving operation just as he had done at the New Port Richey store.  By all observations, he has done just that!  The store is one of the most popular thrift stores in town; so stocked with treasures, clothes, furniture, pictures, and, frames, books, jewelry, electronics, and toys, etc. one, does not know where to look first.

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Littrell, a soft-spoken, kind, and friendly person, loves his work, and it’s evident by the way he treats those around him: customers and staff alike.  He’s not afraid to work down in the trenches alongside his staff and is never too busy or too good to do about anything the job might demand.  “I do whatever it takes to keep the ball rolling,” he smiled, “there’s a lot to do here but we get it done.” 

“My hope for this article is that it brings awareness to the thrift store, as well as the Florida Sheriff Youth Ranches,”  Littrell said unselfishly.  “We all have one goal in mind and that’s to raise money for the continuation of the youth ranches, and for the betterment of the children in need that we love and support. We are here to change the lives of needy and neglected children in Florida.” And they have many, said Littrell. “One such child recipient is Thaddeus Michael Bullard aka Titus O’Neil who played college football at University of Florida, pro-football, and is now a well-known wrestler for the WWE.  O’Neil also does a lot for the community through high school scholarships etc,”  Littrell noted. 

The Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches began aforementioned in Live Oak, Fl. in 1957-where the main office is located to this day.  It was the brainstorm of several goodhearted Florida Sheriffs that saw a huge need for a facility for disobedient boys who needed shelter, guidance, schooling, and distinct instruction for becoming useful members of society. Through the years (FSYR) has grown tremendously.  Today there are six thrift stores, a car sales lot, and sales on eBay.  They accept donations of all types from household items, furniture, cars, boats, houses, and donations from wills.  FSYR has four residential campuses in Live Oak, Bartow, Safety Harbor, and Bradenton (currently being used for other purposes) where children in need live with cottage parents.  There are three summer camps: Caruth Camp, Camp Sorenson, and Youth Camp/Barberville. Last year 6,151 kids were served by FSYR.  Since the opening in 1957, 165,927 kids have been included in the program. Some participation requirements are that children must be between the ages of 8 and 18, the youth must not show a threat to himself or anyone else, and he must be willing to take part in religious activities.  There are additional requirements for residential care.  To find out more about the requirements for FSYR residential care, visit: youthranches.org/index.php/our-services/residential-care.html. 

Originally, only boys were housed, but today, both boys and girls are included in the program, and not wanting to break-up families, brothers and sisters are housed together. 

“We receive a lot of support from Local Sheriff’s Departments including Hernando County Sheriff’s Department.  Sheriff Al Nienhuis served on our board of directors and was a driving force in getting a store in Spring Hill.”  Littrell concluded.

Spring Hill Thrift Store’s hours of operation are: Tuesday through Friday 9 AM-6 PM.  Saturday, 9 AM-5 PM.   Closed Mondays and Sundays.  Donations are accepted behind the store on days open until 4 PM. Call to schedule a pick-up of donations 352-515-1438.  They also provide a delivery service for heavy items purchased, for a small fee.  Address: 1430 Pinehurst Dr, Spring Hill, FL 34606


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