Carrying a purse or handbag is a natural part of the everyday lives of many women, often becoming an extension of those who own them. Many women have multiple purses in different styles, colors, and sizes to suit every occasion. However, for women who are struggling to make ends meet, a purse is often considered a luxury.

Lauren Lindgren wanted to make sure that all women have an opportunity to gain the self-esteem and security that often comes with carrying a stylish handbag. So, Lindgren organized a purse drive to assist local women who are in transition and/or are homeless and soon donations came in from as far away as New York and California. She worked for months to collect handbags, toiletries, and personal care items that she and a group of friends packed into the handbags. They were then donated to the Community Food Bank for distribution to our partnering agencies who serve women in need.

“Collaboration between friends to benefit worthy causes can make a tremendous impact,” says Lindgren. “We all had fun with this project, and it was more meaningful for us knowing that what we were doing will put smiles on the faces of so many women who are struggling and facing tough times.”

“Sometimes the smallest gestures can make the greatest impact in touching the lives of those who are struggling,” says Barbara Sprague, CEO and Executive Director of the CFB. “We applaud Lauren for this effort and reps from our agency partners are excited to see the smiles on the faces of the ladies who receive these beautiful handbags!”

Special thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate our 10 years of service. An awesome time was had by all!! If you missed it, no worries. Here are some pics from the celebration:

The event was extra special thanks to our sponsors!

  • Daystar Life Center
  • CL22 Productions
  • Lowe’s in Inverness

Thank you to the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce for conducting our ribbon cutting ceremony and presenting us with a check for $500!

We look forward to continuing to serve our wonderful community for the next 10 years!

Public Invited to Open House and Celebratory Ribbon Cutting

The Community Food Bank (CFB) is excited to celebrate 10 years of providing food assistance throughout our community. An open house and celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony courtesy of the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce will be held to commemorate the CFB’s work over the past 10 years while looking ahead to the future:

Community Food Bank
10-Year Anniversary Open House and Ribbon Cutting
Tuesday, April 18th
(Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – 4:30pm)

CFB CEO and Executive Director Barbara Sprague will introduce the community to the agency’s Ending Hunger Campus, which includes vehicles, refrigerated trucks, forklifts, and two 7,000 sq. ft. warehouses equipped to receive, sort, store, and distribute food to the CFB’s 60+ partnering agencies. Attendees will have the opportunity to see first-hand the level of impact being rallied to meet the changing needs of those in crisis throughout our community.

“We share the blessing of this facility to provide for those facing hunger, and our impact with everyone who enjoys the Nature Coast and all of its sparkle,” says Sprague.

Since opening in 2013, the CFB has distributed 30,000,000 pounds of food (more than 30 million meals) throughout Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties. During its first year of operation, the CFB provided 953,008 meals to approximately 10,000 people. Today, the CFB feeds more than 70,000 people each month through 60+ partner agencies.

“We’ve continued to grow and respond to the need,” explains Sprague. “We are so fortunate to live in a community with individuals and businesses who are always willing to step up to the plate to help their neighbors in need.”

John Marmish, Johnny Cash, Debbie Lattin, JoAnne Boggus, Wayne Dupler, Steve Ponticos, and Phil Scarpelli were the founding members who served on the original Board of Directors in 2013. Ponticos (current BOD President), Marmish, and Boggus continue to serve on the CFB’s Board of Directors today, while Cash is a member of the CFB Advisory Board.

As the CFB looks into the future, their vision is quite clear.

“We want to continue to have the capacity and ability to meet the food insecurity needs of our community,” says Sprague. “As a community partner, we will work to educate, inspire, and impact those in need by supporting the resources, efforts, and programs by elevating individuals and families from poverty and homelessness to becoming active and productive members of our area workforce and local communities.”

Ending hunger together! Joe Weston, CFPÒ of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management / Barlow – Weston Group presents Community Food Bank CEO/Executive Director Barbara Sprague with a $5,000 check to provide 50,000 meals for individuals in need throughout our local area.

Special thank you to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management / Barlow – Weston Group for contributing a generous donation of $5000 to fight hunger. This equates to another 50,000 nutritious, wholesome meals distributed though our 60+ partner agencies, ministries, food pantries, senior centers, and community service organizations throughout Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter Counties.

Thanks for being a Hunger Hero. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Citrus County Hospital Board Awards $30,000 to Help Fight Hunger

We’re so thankful to the Citrus County Hospital Board for awarding the Community Food Bank (CFB) with a grant for $30,000 to help fight hunger. The Trustees understand how valuable good and consistent nutrition is to our most at risk residents and stepped up to the plate to help us ensure no one in our community goes hungry.

Food insecurity is on the rise and has many faces. Among those seeking food assistance are senior citizens on fixed incomes, working families, and individuals who struggle to make ends meet, especially as the price of food continues to rise. Thanks to this grant, the CFB will be able to provide 300,000 meals which will be distributed through our 60+ partnering agencies.

Thank you for your generosity and continued support to help us end hunger and nourish hope!

Walmart Community Grants Team Selects CFB for $2000 Grant

We are super excited to have been selected by the Walmart Community Grants Team and Walmart store #1104 located at 2461 E Gulf to Lake Hwy in Inverness to receive a $2000 grant designated to fight hunger throughout our community. We will use these funds to provide 20,000 meals which will be distributed through our 60+ partner agencies. Special thank you to Walmart for supporting our efforts and for always making a difference in their local communities!

Black Diamond

Black Diamond Foundation Donates $50,000; CFB Issues “Million Meals Challenge”

The Black Diamond Foundation recently donated $50,000 to the Community Food Bank (CFB) to assist in their critical food relief efforts throughout the area. This donation equates to 500,000 meals. In response, the CFB is issuing a “Million Meals Challenge” to raise an additional $50,000 so the agency can provide their 60+ partner agencies with critical food and supplies that allow them to continue feeding more than 70,000 people in need each month.

“The diversity of people needing food assistance is staggering,” explains Barbara Sprague, Executive Director of the CFB. “The majority of people served by our partnering agencies are working individuals who are unable to make ends meet as the cost of food and living in general continues to rise.”

The Black Diamond Foundation (BDF) has been an ongoing, loyal supporter of the CFB’s fight against hunger. The foundation continues to step up when the CFB identifies a critical need.

“In addition to making donations that help us to provide food, the BDF has helped us purchase transport vehicles which are essential for food pickups and transport,” says Sprague. “We couldn’t do what we do without the generosity of the philanthropic men and women of the BDF who continue to come along side of us to support our mission to end hunger and nourish hope throughout our community.”

Want to be part of the “Million Meals Challenge?” There are three easy ways to donate:

  1. Click here to donate online.
  2. Text DONATE to 352-280-3391
  3. Mail or drop off a donation to:
    Community Food Bank
    5259 W Cardinal Street
    Homosassa, FL 34446

“Every donation makes a difference,” says Sprague.  “We hope to achieve our matching challenge goal of $50,000 by April 30th.”

Sheriff Prendergast Presents Donation in Memory of Late Colleague

Special thank you to our good friend and supporter, Citrus County Sheriff Mike Prendergast, who dropped by the Fox 96.7 studios to present a check in the amount of $200 from an anonymous donor in honor of the late Detective James “Jimmy” West. This donation will provide 2000 meals to feed individuals in need throughout our area!

Would you also like to make a donation in honor of someone special? Remember those who have passed or commemorate a loved one on their birthday, anniversary, etc. with a donation in their name. When making your donation, just add a note in the “Comments” section to identify who you are recognizing and we will send a special “Thank You” card for the contribution in their name.

Community Food Bank (CFB) Partners with Jenkins CDJR of Homosassa to Secure Food Donations

Fill the Trucks

The Community Food Bank (CFB) and Jenkins Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram (CDJR) of Homosassa are partnering on an initiative to fill showroom trucks full of food to help fight food insecurity throughout the Nature Coast. The public can stop by Jenkins CDJR of Homosassa located at 1005 S. Suncoast Blvd. anytime between now and the end of the month to drop off a food donation. The goal is to be able to provide hundreds of pounds of food to help feed school-aged children during spring break.

Listen Now:

Many children throughout the community rely on free or reduced school lunches, which are not available on weekends and during times when school is not in session. According to Barbara Sprague, Executive Director and CEO of the CFB, the agency is specifically seeking shelf stable items, particularly food appealing to kids as spring break approaches, including:

  • Cereal
  • Granola bars
  • Canned foods and pastas (i.e., ravioli)
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Soup
  • Crackers

Citrus 95.3 is also a sponsor of the event and will be broadcasting live from Jenkins CDJR on Friday, February 24th from 12:00 noon – 2:00pm. Anyone who comes out an makes a donation on that day can enjoy a hamburger cookout and be entered in a drawing to win free oil changes for one year, a tank of gasoline, vehicle detailing, local restaurant gift certificates, and more.

Listen Now:

All of the food donated will be distributed by the CFB to their 60+ partner agencies who collectively feed more than 70,000 individuals in need each month.

“Food insecurity is a major problem throughout our area,” explains Sprague. “For some, it’s about not having any food. For others, it’s about not having the means to afford the right kinds of food to keep their families healthy. The food we provide assists all individuals in need, including those who are homeless, senior citizens on a fixed income, and people who are employed but still not able to make ends meet, especially as the cost of food continues to rise.”

Grant from Duke Energy Allows CFB to Participate in Exciting Pilot Program

Community Food Bank (CFB) Executive Director and CEO Barbara Sprague and Daystar Live Center Social Services Director Steve Scarallo with one of three cellular charging stations being piloted at local pantries and shelters thanks to a grant the CFB received from Duke Energy.

The Community Food Bank (CFB) is excited about being able to provide mobile phone charging stations throughout the community. They are installing the first of many they hope to be able to provide thanks to a grant partnership with Duke Energy. In an innovative partnership, CFB and Duke Energy have teamed up to offer these safe, accessible charging stations to help ensure individuals in need can connect with family, friends, and resources to help elevate their situations.

According to Barbara Sprague, CFB Executive Director and CEO, the agency is placing charging stations at various pantry locations throughout Citrus and Hernando Counties including Daystar Life Center’s temporary location at 9020 W. Atlas Drive in Homosassa and the Citrus Cold Weather Shelter at 5113 S. Suncoast Blvd in Homosassa.

“Individuals in need can acquire free mobile phones and minutes through a variety of social service programs,” explains Sprague. “The problem is they have no place to charge these devices, which are often used to help them keep in touch with family, friends, resources, and even their workplaces, as there are many homeless individuals who hold down jobs.”

Sprague says that individuals who are homeless often times must trespass on private property to find charging outlets.

“Sometimes a business or individual will welcome them and give them permission to charge their mobile phone, but that is a rare exception,” says Sprague. “The new charging stations we are placing at safe places throughout the community will make access to charging their devices more accessible, easier, and better guided.”

According to Sprague, the charging stations will also give staff at local food pantries and homeless shelters the opportunity to assist individuals with navigating resources and even encourage clients to reach out to family and friends in efforts to help them get stabilized.

“We often take for granted just how much we depend on our mobile phones,” concludes Sprague, “For individuals in need, these devices are a lifeline to resources, job opportunities, and the connection to family and friends they need to help them get back on their feet.”