The Citrus Memorial Hospital Internal Medicine residents wanted to give back in a small way. They had a pumpkin carving contest to raise money for Citrus County Blessings. With pumpkins in short supply they had to get creative with a few watermelons!
“We are so happy that we are able to support this great organization and hope our small contribution can be a blessing to children in need.”
Genevieve Kennedy’s first memory of charity was when a member of her old youth group asked her dad to buy basic bathroom goods they couldn’t afford.
Seeing a Citrus County neighbor having trouble getting things others might take for granted helped inspire Genevieve to find her own path toward giving back to her community.
Most recently, the 17-year-old Crystal River High School senior was able to secure a $5,000 donation from Arnie and Diane Ross, of the San Francisco Fund, to be split between the Citrus County Education Foundation (CCEF) and Citrus County Blessings.
Since her freshman year, Genevieve has partnered with Blessings and the CCEF to bring more personal items, food and school supplies closer to children and families who need them.
“These are two great organizations to help volunteer for,” Genevieve said.
CCEF Executive Director Shaunda Burdette and Blessings Executive Director Christina Reed said Genevieve’s selflessness motivates other students to lend their struggling classmates a hand.
“It helps to normalize it, and it helps those students feel more comfortable asking for assistance and receiving that assistance,” Reed said. “The more students we get involved, the better it’s going to be for us.”
“It’s so important to have a voice from the frontline,” Burdette added.
Genevieve is the chair of the Blessings board of directors’ high school student representative group for the nonprofit.
Reed and Burdette said Genevieve’s ability to provide aid without expressing a hint of judgement is invaluable when it comes to building a relationship between those unconfident or unsure to ask for assistance.
“There’s integrity and trust there so students an adults will come to her if they have needs,” Burdette said, “and that’s what sets her apart from other school leaders — her compassion without judgement.”
Florida Southern College accepted Genevieve into its bachelors of nursing program for next fall.
Genevieve — a two-time semifinalist of the FHSAA Swimming and Diving State Championships for Class 2A — said she might get into the pool to compete for her next school.
Burdette and Reed said nonprofits countywide are uniting to coordinate their array of services and target those most vulnerable during the COVID-19 era.
“We’re definitely doing a whole lot more than we ever knew we could,” Burdette said. “There’s always a need that’s out there for us.”
With each endeavor the organizations take to meet growing and varied demands, Citrus County is right behind them.
“It’s just been amazing,” Reed said. “Our numbers are rising, but our needs are being met.”
Members of the organization VFW hold a long-standing history of volunteerism in their communities. Not only have they served their country, but they continue to serve their fellow veterans, families, and communities. On Tuesday, September 29th, they celebrated "VFW Day" and presented Citrus County Blessings with a check for $500 in support of our programs. Post 10087 and it's members have been generous advocates for Citrus County Blessings for the past 4 years. We appreciate their support and service to our country.
On Sept. 23, West Citrus Elks Lodge 2693 volunteers met for the monthly session of packaging weekend food for children.
Using Florida State Elks Association matching funds from the Elks National Foundation
Beacon Grant, the lodge presented the Citrus County Blessings organization in Lecanto, Florida, with a check for $1,000. Blessings is a group that supplies children from all of Citrus County with food to eat on the weekends.
Lodge members and Blessings personnel at the check presentation are Sandy Hendron; Jeanne Brier; Gail Bockario, assistant vice chair of Blessings; Christina Reed, executive director of blessings; Donna Hayes; Ed James; Kris Estus; Brian Estus; and Cheryl Brett.
So many people use Amazon, and if you're like us, more than you'd like to admit! With AmazonSmile, you can select a charity to give back as you shop.
Setting up AmazonSmile
Already have AmazonSmile & want to change to give to Blessings?
You can change your charity any time. Your AmazonSmile purchases after the change count towards your newly selected charity. To change your charity on your web browser, simply select "Change your Charity" in "Your Account." You can also visit AmazonSmile under settings on your Amazon Shopping app and select "Change your Charity."
Make sure you like our Facebook page and check back with the "Events" page on our website for important updates and news for our upcoming fundraiser. Details will be released soon!
Grand Living’s resident card making group presents Citrus County Blessings with a $350.00 check from sales of their cards. Citrus County Blessings provides food for children on the weekends when they aren’t able to eat at school.
The members of the Walden Woods North Social Club made a generous donation from the proceeds of a recent bake sale. The club wanted to give back to a cause where they knew the organization was helping individuals hit hardest by the pandemic. Citrus County Blessings is extremely grateful for the donation, in anticipation of increased numbers for the upcoming school year.
Each year for the past 25 years the Citrus County Chronicle has hosted the Best of the Best contest. This year they added a new section named 'People in Your Community". Citrus county community members and readers of the Chronicle voted and we are pleased to have been chosen for Honorable Mention this year. It means a lot to be recognized by our community and we are extremely thankful for the support! - Christina Reed, Executive Director, Citrus County Blessings
For the first three weeks of the summer "Feed the Kids" fresh produce program, Citrus County Blessings has seen an increase of double the number of participants from the previous year's program. "Normally our numbers fluctuate over the course of our summer program. With the pandemic we expected an increase in the number of families, however doubling the numbers from last year was more than expected.", explains Christina Reed, Executive Director. Thanks to the Community Food Bank sharing an opportunity provided by the USDA, all of the produce has been fresh from the farm and at no cost to the program.