For the past two years, Inverness Elks Lodge 2522 has used the Elks National Foundation Spotlight Grant to make a $2,000 donation to this local charity.
Approximately 72 percent of children enrolled in Citrus County’s public schools participate in the free/reduced lunch program. Of those 72 percent, 69 percent qualify for free lunch and 3 percent qualify for reduced-price lunch.
The Blessings program provides 1,900 local students in 28 schools with six meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner for two days) to take home every Friday of the school year.
The students are also given additional food to take home over the school breaks. Each child is recommended by a school employee. Students’ identities are protected and their names are only released to staff and key volunteers.
The Blessings program utilizes two staff members and more than 900 volunteers each month to transport pallets, pack bags and deliver the food to the schools.
Executive Director Christina Reed and program coordinator Rachel Garret-Butler also have the Inverness Elks put together a regular volunteer team to help out on the first Wednesday morning of every month during the school year.
Reed, Garret-Butler and Elks past president Richard Grosnick have worked together tirelessly to provide support to Citrus County Blessings.