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Saturday, March 31 our Annual Gala was held at Lake Receptions. It wasn't just any Gala it was to celebrate our 10th Anniversary and the turn out was amazing!

Almost 500 people gathered together to celebrate our accomplishments in the community for the past 10 years. Check out our Gallery of photos!

We wanted to share the stories of some of the heroes we meet out there in our community as we take Resource Advocate calls for Lake Cares.

Today we're thinking of a woman we met on the phone several weeks ago who is supporting her disabled husband and 7-year-old son on a minimum wage job. Even with the help of SNAP (food subsidies) and low-income housing, we were amazed by her ability to manage her life on such a small amount of disposable income. She walks to work because it is not possible for them to support a car.

On Giving Tuesday on November, 27th, 2018, Facebook is partnering with PayPal, to match a total of up to $7 million in donations made on Facebook to eligible US-based 501(c)(3) nonprofits. And Lake Cares is eligible!

So with over 2100 active Facebook friends, we figure if even a small portion will share the $10 Challenge with their friends, and coupled with the possible Facebook/PayPal Match, it would truly meet the description of "It Takes a Community".

Lake Cares Gives Holiday Meals to 600 families

For the 9th year, Lake Cares Food Pantry will have 250 extra happy clients at Thanksgiving and Christmas time! This is all part of the "Holiday Food on the Table Campaign". This special distribution of holiday food begins with more than 600 names placed in a food basket and Lake Cares staff draws out 250 names for a full Thanksgiving dinner on November 20th, and another 250 names are drawn for the December 21st Christmas dinner.

These drawings provide everything needed for a family of four to enjoy a holiday meal. “In addition to all the fixings for the holiday dinner we provide, families also a $15 gift card for their meat of choice,“

Providing nourishing meals for our less fortunate neighbors has always been the primary focus of Lake Cares Food Pantry. That will never change. However, we realize that for many of the families and seniors we help each week, the needs of our clients reach far beyond nutrition.

In Lake County, approximately 43,000 residents live at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty level. That’s $24,300 a year for a family of 4. These families live paycheck to paycheck. An unexpected illness, an accident, new tires, brakes for the car, or children needing school supplies. All these added expenses and more will throw a family into a financial crisis. A crisis that may eventually lead to homelessness.

Lake Cares - main office in Mount Dora

Tis the season……of rain! And there certainly has been a lot of it. Our building was built in the late 20’s and it is a good solid structure but every now and then it needs a little TLC.

Lately, we have had to do some roof repair, replace an air conditioner and have some French drains installed to help with a flooding issue. But we are very blessed to have this building that was donated to us by Mr. Jim Croson and also the support of the community to be able to make the necessary repairs.

We supplied food to the children of Lake County again this year. This much-needed 9-week program tackles hunger insecurities during the weeks when school is not in session. Last year, more than 2,900 children were able to have 3 each of breakfast, lunch, fruit, snacks and drinks. This year there will be more than 3,000 children enrolled in the program.

The 2018 Birdies and Burgers Golf Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, October 13th, 7:30 to 8:15 check-in, at the Country Club of Mount Dora. This 4 person charity scramble with a cost of $50 per person which includes 18 holes of golf, cart, and lunch.

“This is a fun event which is open to men, women and mixed divisions.

Victory Garden Project in Lake County Florida

Back in the day, people harvested victory gardens to supplement their food needs and those of their neighbors. It was in deed a time where the community came together for the greater good. We are so proud to announce the groundbreaking ceremony of the Victory Garden at Faith Christian Fellowship on March 23rd was well attended and everyone celebrated this momentous occasion. 

Every day, thousands of people wonder how they will scrounge up their next meal, many of them are our neighbors right here in Lake County! In our very own backyard, over 45,000 residents sweat daily over putting food on their tables.

For the first time, Lake Cares Food Pantry is managing the “Empty Bowls” event in hopes of shining a light on this increasingly heartbreaking secret that many of the people we see every day are facing.

We would love for you to join us on Thursday, February 8th from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm at Wooten Park in Tavares! For $10 you get to enjoy 2 soups created by local eateries, bread, bottled water, and a bowl to use, which doubles as a reminder of the regions daily epidemic of empty bowls.

Personal Items instead of presents

We are so very thankful for all of the individuals and organizations who hold food collection drives leading into the holiday season. We have had many inquiries as to what else can people do to help us and our clients get through the season. Yes without a doubt, food is very important, but so are the personal needs every person has. Items such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant and toilet paper. The list goes on, just look around your house, pay attention to your everyday routines and you'll soon realize what our clients need as well. 

Lake Concert Band to perform and gives money to Lake Cares Food Pantry

The partnership between Lake Cares and the Lake Concert Band under the direction of John Landers offers a free holiday concert. The concert is held at the Mount Dora Community Building at 520 N. Baker St. on December 14th from 7-9 pm. This concert brings the songs of Christmas along with Broadway and classical selections to listeners. A monetary donation will be accepted during the show.

Hurricane Irma victims receive emergency food

Emergency Food: Hurricane Irma brought more than 115 families to Lake Cares immediately after the hurricane for a onetime emergency food dispersion and this number is expected to increase from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastation and families moving to Lake County. Second Harvest Food Bank delivered a truckload of food to the Habitat for Humanity Resale shop in Eustis which was distributed to over 300 families and the Plant City Rotary and Star Distribution Systems delivered a semi truck full of 25,000 pounds of nonperishables for Lake County residents. 

It is with the continued support and help from all of the communities of Lake County that enables Lake Cares to fulfill our mission statement. “Feed the Body, Educate the Mind and Lift the Spirit of All Individuals.” Thank you for helping us with our mission. 

Shop with a cop brings smiles

Shop with a Cop: Every year the Mount Dora Police Department works with counselors from the Mount Dora schools to determine children in need during the holidays. They shop with a police office at the Mount Dora Target store where they can purchase clothes and presents. Lake Cares makes sure that these families have food on their table by partnering with Target, Publix and the Mount Dora Police to feed their needs.

New Homeowners: Newly constructed homes built by the Habitat for Humanity receive food to stock the homeowner’s refrigerator and food pantry. Families have enough to think about when they finally move into a home, so Lake Cares makes sure they don’t have to think about having food to eat. Veterans moving into the Veterans Village in Umatilla are the next families to receive this help.

School Children in Need: The Backpack Program is a partnership between Triangle Elementary School, St. Philip Lutheran Church and Lake Cares. Nutritious, easy to prepare food is packaged and sent home each weekend. More than 60 students receive these packs. This program closes the gap of hunger that weekends bring to many children. Over 87% of the children at the school qualify for free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch during the school week!!

Foster Care Help: Forward Paths Foundation is a volunteer organization providing housing assistance and skill building for young adults aging out of foster care at 18 years old. Many can and do become homeless if not for this group.

Lake Cares has impact, feeds over 33,000 people in one year

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed one.” Mother Theresa

Lake Cares is feeding more than hundreds of people. From September 1st, 2016 to Oct. 31st 2017 we fed over 33,000 people! There are several factors in the success of Lake Cares Food Pantry.

An excellent staff and great Executive Board and Advisory Board. A superb group of volunteers. The support of the community and generous donors. But it’s the partnerships established throughout the years which keeps the food and assistance continually in motion. It is the generosity of everyone that affords Lake Cares to be involved in many different programs. Let us tell you about them. You will be surprised at the magnitude of the Lake Cares outreach!

Lake Cares Gives Holiday Meals to 600 families

Lake Cares Holiday Food on the Table Campaign kicks off its 8th season on November 21st. This distribution of holiday food begins with more than 600 names placed in a food basket. Lake Cares staff draws out 250 names for a full Thanksgiving dinner. Another 250 names are drawn for the December 22nd Christmas dinner.

These drawings provide everything needed for a family holiday meal. “We provide not only all the fixings for the holiday dinner but also a $15 gift card for their meat of choice,“

We depend on our Volunteers, learn how you can become one.

Becky Carter knows one true fact. Volunteers are the backbone and strength of Lake Cares Food Pantry. “As Assistant Director of Lake Cares one of the pleasures of my job is gathering people from all walks of life wanting to volunteer and help those in need,” Becky said. “We have approximately 170+active volunteers and you couldn’t ask for a finer group of people. Like all organizations, we always need more volunteers because of vacations, appointments, and illness.”
Orientation is held once a month at Lake Cares. It gives potential volunteers an overall picture of what Lake Cares does and how it operates. Ages for volunteers range from 15 to those in their 80’s. 

First United Church of Mount Dora distributes food to Lake Cares Clients

For more than 3 years First United Methodist Church of Mt. Dora has partnered with Lake Cares Food Pantry distributing food on the 1st & 3rd Friday of the month to Pantry clients living near the Martin Luther King Center in Mount Dora. The majority have no means of transportation. Many of the families and seniors walk to get the much-needed food. “This really is an answer to the prayers of this community and our church,” said Janet Westlake from First United. “Dave Magee, who passed away in 2016, started this outreach program aiding those in need of food. We service 120 families each month and it’s really about relationships.”

Half of Lake Cares Volunteers

Many of our volunteers have been with us for several years, yet some have just begun. Without volunteers our operation would not work as smoothly as it does, nor would we be able to serve as many people as we do. Take a look at some of their testimonials and maybe one of them will resonate with you, so much so, you will consider becoming one of our family of volunteers. If so, click here to take a look our Ways you Can Help Page. If you have any questions, give us a call at 352-383-0100 and ask for Becky. In the meantime, take a couple minutes to read how the Lake Cares Volunteers, Tell it like it is!

Birdies & Burgers Golf Scramble Announced

The 2017 Birdies and Burger Golf Tournament to benefit Lake Cares Food Pantry is scheduled for Saturday, September 9th, 7:30-8:15 check-in, at the Country Club of Mount. Dora. This unique 4 person charity scramble has a cost of $50 per person which includes 18 holes of golf, cart and lunch. “This is such a fun event which is open to men, women and mixed divisions,” said Ed Rizzo who is on the Advisory Board of Lake Cares. “Where else can you attend a Chinese auction and 50/50 raffle and know you are helping feed so many in need people. And on top of that have a chance to win a $15,000 Hole in One Prize. It’s a great thing.”

Sponsorships available for Birdies and Burgers

The Fall is fast approaching and so is our annual Birdies and Burgers Golf Scramble. We are looking for sponsors to help us put on this super fun event! We anticipate up to 144 golfers for 18 holes of golf, a raffle, Chinese auction and burgers plus all the fixins' for lunch, of course. All the fun happens on Saturday, September 9 at The Country Club of Mount Dora.

We also have added a new and exciting challenge for all our golfers, a $15,000 Grand Prize for a Hole in One!

We have seven different sponsorship levels ranging from $100 - $3000, all with varying levels of promotional exposure and numbers of golfers included.

It's simple to become a sponsor, all you have to do is download this application, fill it out and pay online here


Available Sponsorship Levels:

Tournament Sponsor $3000

Cart Sponsor $1000

Lunch Sponsor $500

Hole in One Sponsor $500

Closest to the Pin Sponsor $150

Longest Drive Sponsor $150

Hole Sponsor $100

Lake Concert Band Announces Benefit Concert for Lake Cares

We are excited to announce this year the Lake Concert Band will once again hold a FREE benefit holiday concert on our behalf. We look forward to hearing various holiday favorites such as Canadian Brass Christmas Suite, Sleigh Ride, Celtic Carol, and Go Tell It on The Mountain. Monetary donations will be collected during the concert to benefit Lake Cares Food Pantry.

A special thank you goes out to the City of Mount Dora, for donating the space to hold this amazing fundraising event.

Lake Cares Food Pantry is again blessed to have the continued support of Main Street Leasing, the United Way and the community for the Summer Feeding Program for Children. This much needed 9-week program tackles hunger insecurities during the weeks when school is not in session.

One of our clients by the name of Janet, who at 75 years old received custody of her 5 great grandchildren.

“My husband Larry and I went to from being alone to getting my great grandchildren because their parents died within days of each other,” Janet said.

It is with great excitement Lake Cares Food Pantry opens a satellite distribution site at Faith Christian Fellowship Church, 1951 Dora Avenue, Tavares, Florida. 

The once a month distribution will be held from 10a.m.-12p.m. on the first Saturday of each month.

Main Street Leasing donates 25,000 to Lake Cares Summer Feeding Program

For more than 8 years, Main Street Leasing has shared a wonderful partnership with Lake Cares Food Pantry. MSL, as they are commonly known, has generously given financial support with the $25,000 matching donation for the Summer Children's Feeding Program. This is a dollar for dollar match for any donation specifically given to this fund. (click here to donate now)

Rich Critters feed the hippy bus pet food drive for Lake Cares Food Pantry Pets

Every year we give out hundreds of thousands of pounds of food to our clients. However, we can’t forget our clients who have pets. Several senior and low-income families also have pets, and many times they end up sharing their table food with their furry friends.


So you have your list, and you are checking it twice, but what do you get for the person who has everything? Everyone we know loves to open presents during the holiday season, but what is inside those gifts is what really matters! We believe we have the perfect solution for you.

Lake Concert Band Performs to Benefit Lake Cares Food Pantry

DATE: December 8th
TIME: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
WHERE: the Mount Dora Community Building

For more than 5 years, the Lake Concert Band under the direction of John Landers, offers a free Christmas concert benefiting Lake Cares Food Pantry.

The 70 band members started rehearsals in mid-September for the concert. Music to be played will be Christmas songs, besides a few Broadway tunes, plus some classical selections. Many of the band members have been playing together for more than 25 years. Each and every member performs throughout the year at numerous concerts, parades, and community functions...

Volunteer Spotlight for Lake Cares Food Pantry in Lake County Florida

There are two definitions of the word “help” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Help - to do something that makes it easier for someone dealing with a problem; to give yourself or another person food or drink. That is what Janet Shaner does every Wednesday afternoon from 3:15 till 5:00 helping disperse bags of food to those in need at Lake Cares Food Pantry.

Main Street Leasing and United Way Support Lake Cares Food Pantry

Lake Cares Food Pantry is thankful and pleased for the continued support of Main Street Leasing, the United Way and the community during the “Summer Feeding Program for Children.” This year’s program fed more than 1600 children from June 14th - August 2nd.

DATE: Saturday, November 12th
TIME: 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
WHERE: Renninger's

Join us as we gather for a Guinness World Record attempt. TheCross Mount Dora came up with this brilliant idea to raise funds for our pantry, and their goal is to raise over $50,000. We invite you to come and participate by being one of the 2000+ people who will bring a dish or beverage to share with our community.

DATE: November 17 - 19
TIME: Starts at 10:00am daily
WHERE: Donnelly Park

Santa's elves have been working hard to create a wide variety of holiday decorations which will surely get you into the holiday spirit at the 3rd annual "Celebrate the Season" in Mount Dora...