As Thanksgiving approaches, many families look forward to a delicious and robust holiday feast; one that comes complete with a ham or turkey centerpiece and all of the yummy fixings that tag-a-long with it. And for families in need, those who may find themselves challenged by food costs this holiday season, Hernando County help agencies are spearheading major food collection efforts to ensure that everyone can enjoy a festive Thanksgiving this year. Below are descriptions of a few of the agencies in need of seasonal food donations at this time.
Based in Pasco County, Volunteer Way also serves clients across Hernando and the Tampa Bay area. Donations are accepted at the agency food pantry, 8061 Congress St.,
Port Richey. “Our biggest need is turkeys,” said Nicole Cestaro-Jackson, CEO of Volunteer Way. “We can always use the side items too; stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy and mashed potatoes.”
Opened in 2009, the Jericho Road Food Barn is based at 1165 Howell Ave in Brooksville and they provide food to individuals and families in need.
“For our Food Barn at Jericho Road, we are looking for turkeys, any nonperishable Thanksgiving side items, or gift cards for Publix, Winn-Dixie, or Walmart,” said Nathan Stauffer, vice president of communications at Jericho Road. “We take these kinds of donations at any of our four thrift stores.” The Jericho Road thrift stores are located at 15000 County Line Rd, Spring Hill; 5260 Commercial Way, Spring Hill; 31170 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville; and 16479 Wiscon Rd., Brooksville.
The Pace Center for Girls Hernando is a local headquarters of a nationally recognized organization that provides education, counseling, training, and advocacy for girls and young women, and seeks to provide delicious holiday feasts for its membership. “During the holidays, we like to support our families in need with a meal for Thanksgiving dinner,” said Xonjenese Jacobs, executive director of Pace Hernando. “We typically go with ham as the meat for the families, considering limitations in their ability to store food. Traditional sides such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, and a dessert are equally appreciated.” Donate to Pace Center for Girls at 3139 Dumont Ave, Spring Hill, FL 34609.
People Helping People is an interfaith nonprofit that provides food to people in need in Hernando County, and they have a special request for the Hernando community this holiday season.
“We have a special request for food donations for the holidays. We would be looking for stuffing mix, cornbread mix, mashed potato mix, cranberry sauce, gravy mix,” said Kendra Kenney, executive director of People Helping People in Hernando County, Inc. “We would be using these items to fill bags that we deliver to seniors in local low income housing as well as those who may come in seeking emergency assistance with food. Of course, cash is always appreciated so that we may add to our pantry. We do 140 bags for the seniors alone so the cash donations assure that we would have enough of each item to provide for each senior.” The community can drop off donations at People Helping People, 1396 Kass Cir, Spring Hill, FL 34606.
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. And in Hernando County, Salvation Army leaders are working to provide quality holiday meals for those in need. “We could definitely use canned/dry goods for our Thanksgiving boxes,” said Lt. April Davis, a Salvation Army supervisor in Hernando County. “We have all the turkeys we need, so we will be unable to accept any turkeys from donors. Cash donations would be fine as well, but the main need is canned and dry goods.” Donations can be dropped off to the Salvation Army at the Salvation Army Brooksville/Hernando County, 15464 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville, or 3570 Commercial Way, Spring Hill.
The Dawn Center Domestic and Sexual Violence Services is in need of basic staples and essentials for the families it serves. “We would appreciate cash and gift cards for the participants, based on our limited space,” explained Ana Segovia, community engagement coordinator at Dawn Center. “I do know our current needs are sweaters and jackets. We are always in need of underwear, socks, and sports bras. All sizes for women, men, and children.
Snacks are always a plus, chips, cookies, granola bars, and nonperishable foods.”
The Metropolitan Ministries serves the entire Tampa Bay area, and is expanding its reach in Hernando County and its overall mission to “care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in our community through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity and instill self-sufficiency… as an expression of the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ.”
“Here is a list of our most needed food items for the holidays: turkeys, ham, chicken, cereal, canned yams, bagged or boxed stuffing, cranberry sauce,” said Brensey Thompson-Hurst of Metropolitan Ministries, associate director of marketing and communications. For more information about how to donate, visit https://www.metromin.org/holiday-central/.
With a donation to a local nonprofit, Hernando residents can spread a little holiday cheer and love to their neighbors and community.