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HomeAt Home & BeyondLocal Charities Call for Holiday Food and Gift Donations

Local Charities Call for Holiday Food and Gift Donations

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As the Yuletide season approaches, many families in need are struggling to put food on the table and gifts beneath the tree. At this time, the charities and nonprofit agencies of Hernando are appealing to the public for food, financial, material and toy donations to ensure that every family has a merry holiday.

“For some, being homeless or struggling financially is even harder to handle during the end-of-year holidays,” said Kendra Kenney, Executive Director of People Helping People in Hernando County, Inc. “We like to have on hand ‘holiday’ meal type food items to share with people to ease their struggles. We’ve had a few businesses that have donated the leftover food from their holiday parties, and we are able to serve lunch on days other than our usual Tuesday and Friday. It’s wonderful that people are extra generous and giving during the end of the year, but we hope they’ll continue to remember those in need once January comes around.”

Donate to People Helping People by calling (352) 686-4466, visiting www.phphernando.org, or dropping off donations at 1396 Kass Circle in Spring Hill.

The Dawn Center of Hernando County seeks food and gift donations for its domestic violence shelter.

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“We received a list from our Residential Services Manager about what holiday items are most needed,” said Shannon Sokolowski, Dawn Center executive director, “and this is what she sent me:
Green beans
Candied yams
Fried onion topping
Instant Potatoes
Mac & cheese
Drink mixes (Iced Tea/Lemonade)
Cranberry sauce
Can of pumpkin
Cream of mushroom soup
Cream of celery soup
Cream of chicken soup
Disposable tin pans (all sizes)”

“These items will help us throughout the holiday season,” said Sokolowski.
Dawn Center also seeks holiday gifts for shelter residents.

“Yes, we are accepting donations of gifts and holiday wrapping paper,” said Sokolowski. “We find that there is always a large need for age-appropriate gifts for teens as well as for the adult survivors themselves. We like to give the children an opportunity to ‘shop’ from the donated gifts for their parents. They love it!”

Would-be donors are encouraged to contact Dawn Center’s Community Engagement Coordinator at 352-639-0892 or [email protected] to make arrangements.

Volunteer Way is based in Pasco County and serves clients across Hernando and the Tampa Bay area. Aside from food and other essentials, Volunteer Way collects toys for needy children throughout the holiday season.

“We are putting a toy drive together,” said Nicole Cestaro-Jackson, C.E.O. of the Volunteer Way.

Volunteer Way’s Christmas Toy Drive is active and in effect. “Help make this Christmas merry for children in our community,” reads a toy drive flier. “Please donate any new, unwrapped toy. Teen items are the most needed items. Please drop off by Dec. 15.” The Volunteer Way is located at 8061 Congress St., Port Richey.

Based in Citrus County, the Community Food Bank supports eight hunger relief agencies throughout Hernando. CFB is currently running a campaign designed to ensure that every person and family in its service area enjoys nutritious and delicious meals custom-made for the holidays.

“We’re accepting donations of all those main dishes and sides that make holiday meals,” said Barbara Sprague, CEO of Community Food Bank. “And we particularly like to receive items like turkey and chicken breasts, which can be more manageable to prepare–especially for older folks.”

Donate to Community Food Bank at https://feed352.org/donate/ or donations can be made over the phone at (352) 628-3663. CFB is located at 5259 W. Cardinal St., Homosassa.

By uniting to help those in need, Hernando residents can help ensure that all in our area have a happy holiday season.

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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