Most kids love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. This summer that staple of childhood is being used to help bridge the local hunger gap which is magnified during summer when underprivileged kids miss their schools’ free breakfast and lunch programs that they depend on.
Lake County's annual P. B. & J. Challenge is a way for residents and businesses to help put food in kids’ stomachs during summer break by donating unopened jars of peanut butter and jelly to Lake Cares Food Pantry.
Businesses, families, civic groups, kids, and co-workers that complete the challenge are encouraged to send Mount Dora Buzz, the event’s sponsor, a photo with their donation and issue a challenge to another group or family to make a P B & J donation. Mount Dora Buzz will post the photos and the challenges on its website.
Participants can look for B.O.G.O. sales at their local grocery store to help make their donations go further. Individuals can take their jars of peanut butter and jelly to the drop-off locations below until August 1. Businesses and groups participating can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
DROP OFF LOCATIONS:
Lake Cares Food Pantry 2001 W. Old Hwy 441 (at Morningside Dr.), Mount Dora Open Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sat. 8 a.m. to noon
During summer break, some disadvantaged children miss the breakfasts and lunches they depend on at school. To help close the childhood hunger gap, the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) ensures that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals at Summer Break Spots when school is not in session.
In Mount Dora, Second Harvest Food Bank will once again provide free, healthy lunches to all kids 18-years-old and younger beginning May 29 at W.T. Bland Library at noon. The program will continue Monday through Friday until August 10. No paperwork or registration is required, but kids must be in line in the Children’s Program Room by noon.
East Lake County Library at 31440 State Road 437 in Sorrento is another location for the program. Lunches will be served Monday through Friday beginning May 29 and all kids should be in line by 11 a.m. Check other local cities for more locations and times.
Last year there were over 3,500 Summer Break Spots in Florida where children received the free meals in a safe and supervised environment. The program is federally-funded, state-administered, and run by qualified sponsors. Last summer the USDA program planned to serve over 200 million free meals to kids.
Another local resource to help feed local children is the Summer Kids Packs of free food distributed by Real Life Church in Mount Dora. Anyone interested can call727-735-7748 for details.
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Lake County Firefighters are teaming up with the Lake County Animal Shelter to host the “Rescue Me” pet adoption event and cookout on May 19th at Lake County Animal Shelter.
The Professional Firefighters of Lake County, Local 3990, will be cooking up complimentary BBQ for all shelter visitors throughout the day, and children will have the chance to learn about Lake County Fire Rescue apparatus and enjoy fire truck demonstrations. DJ Showtyme will provide entertainment, and LEASH, Inc. will sponsor free pet adoptions all day.
“It is so exciting to partner with Lake County firefighters on this amazing event,” said Shelter Director Whitney Boylston. “These men and women are not only local heroes, but also animal lovers who are donating their time and resources to help find homes for homeless pets.”
One such animal lover is Firefighter David Manes of Station 76, who recently adopted his 9-year-old dog, Gus, from the Lake County Animal Shelter. His mission is to promote the adoption of senior dogs like Gus, who he said is “a little slower, but is relaxed and just sleeps all day on the couch.”
“Some people are stuck on getting full-blood dogs, but you can find what you’re looking for in the shelter,” said Manes. “Why spend hundreds of dollars when there are so many dogs at the shelter? There are some great animals there that need homes.”
The free, family-friendly event is Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 5p.m. at the shelter, located at 28123 County Road 561 in Tavares.
For more information on adoptable animals call 352-343-9688. For more news in Mount Dora, Tavares & Eustis, download the area's free mobile app. Free subscriptions to the monthly issue of Mount Dora Buzz are available here.
In 2008, a bestselling book titled “The Necklace: Thirteen Women and The Experiment That Transformed Their Lives” chronicled what happened after several women pitched in to buy a single $37,000 necklace and took monthly turns possessing it.
Lake Cares Food Pantry now hopes to change the lives of its growing roster of clients by borrowing a page from The Necklace. Lake County jeweler Gold in Art Jewelers designed Lake Cares’ version of the necklace christened “Bella Diamante” (“beautiful diamond”) to be raffled to raise money for the local non-profit’s cramped Mount Dora headquarters which cannot keep up with demand. Appraised at $21,500, the 18-inch, 14K gold necklace grabs attention with a one-carat center diamond orbited by 26 smaller diamonds totaling 3.51 carats.
Similar to the best-selling book, a Lake Cares committee secretly selected 12 women in the community with diverse backgrounds to get to know each other and each will wear the necklace for a month. Irene O'Malley, Lake Cares Executive Director, said the fundraiser builds excitement with the identifying of each of the ladies once they’ve had the necklace for a month.
A total of 1,000 raffle tickets are on sale now. Tickets are available in time for Mother's Day gifts and cost $50. First prize is the diamond necklace. The winner will be announced April 6, 2019 at the Lake Cares 10th Anniversary Gala. Second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $2,500. Tickets can be purchased online here or by calling (352) 973-1037 until the 1.000 are sold.
With one in six Central Floridians currently battling hunger and food insecurity, feeding the region remains an urgent concern. According to information provided by Lake Cares, 45,120 Lake County residents struggle with hunger. In 2017, the non-profit served 36,201 individuals, 10,695 families, and distributed more than 600,000 pounds of food.