For the fifth consecutive summer, Citrus County Blessings and their dedicated volunteers have spent one evening a week in the community providing fresh fruits and vegetables for families in need.
The program runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday evenings for nine weeks at seven locations in the county.
“The generosity of several community partners allows us to set up in areas where we know our families live. Where it is convenient for them to get to,” Blessings executive director, Christina Reed, said.
Each week the organization sends a little something extra to help with food costs or as a special treat for the kids. Included in this are peanut butter and jelly, bread, cotton candy and even goody bags in celebration of the Fourth of July.
“Seeing the kid's excitement at our locations is the heart of what we do,” Blessings program coordinator, Rachelle Garrett-Butler, said.
The summer program currently serves an average of 431 local children and adults facing food insecurity. It is available to families who are already participating in the Blessings program over the school year.
“Enrollment is required in advance, as we purchase our produce each week through the Community Food Bank of Citrus County,” Garrett-Butler said. “We are also accepting new enrollments, this is a great way to get the information to families and get them the help they need.”
Funding for programs offered by Blessings is provided by the generosity of individuals, businesses, civic groups and churches.
They also receive local grants like the Citrus County Charitable Foundation, which awarded Blessings a grant for $13,394 for their weekend meal program.