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Grant Success Stories

Read testimonials from our grant recipients to see how your contributions positively impact our community.

Boys & Girls Club of North Port

We are so grateful for the continued support of our Club members by Heron Creek Community Foundation. I have provided a short story of the impact you made this past year.

Heron Creek Community Foundation has been a trusted and valued partner of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. Heading into 2023, North Port and our families were reeling from Hurricane Ian. The families we serve are largely those who are underserved with sparse resources at their disposal. A single-father who has two boys enrolled at our Boys & Girls Club in North Port came to our Club Director and said he could no longer afford the $20/month he was paying per child due to their home being damaged and his work hours being cut. He was desperate and was already working so hard to keep his family afloat. We were pleased to tell him that his children’s memberships would be fully covered for the year. The money provided by HCCF removed a financial burden from this father while ensuring his children had a safe and enriching place to go out-of-school. The $40/month that he was paying for his two boys is not what it costs our organization to serve them as the actual cost to us is $2,500 a year. HCCF covered the entire year of programming, services and food, including the full-day summer program, for his two boys so he could focus on insurance claims, work and everything else he is responsible for as a single-father. Both that father and our organization our extremely grateful for the local support you provide and the tremendous impact you make in this community.

Meals On Wheels

What a generous and caring group of people you are!  I know you’ve been working diligently on our behalf to raise money to help people in need around North Port.  I love telling people that the geographic center of our client base is just outside the clubhouse doors and that the people who live near that spot really do care about the members of their community.  The number of meals delivered has grown 25% just since September, and any snowbirds that recently returned north with family have been replaced by new people who will be here all summer.  We have already received requests from 57 new people so far this year, and about half of them live near the poverty line and cannot afford the $6 per meal.  Again last week, we set a record for number of meals served in a week and we now have over 170 active clients.

Your $12,000 gift provided 2,000 meals in January and February to people whose income is less than 100% of the Federal Poverty line. 

Here are a few stories from clients who have come just this year, looking for help as you have answered the call:

One client, a Navy veteran, was taking care of his wife who was receiving meals until she recently passed away. He has trouble with balance and is very unsteady on his feet, and decided that continuing to have visitors to bring him lunch each day would be a welcome relief as he now copes with being alone in his home.

Another woman was working to recover from back surgery which left her unable to drive or cook very much for herself.  Following that, she had brain surgery to have tumors removed, and is relieved to have her smiling friends visit her with lunch each day and check on how she is doing.  The visits and nutrition are helping to build her strength back up and continue fighting.

One couple in their 80’s came to us in January which too much to handle on their own.  The wife has end-stage COPD and is on oxygen, and struggles with normal household chores like showering.  She is on palliative care and will have hospice support soon.  Her husband is 82 and is doing the best he can to care for his wife, but can only do so much.  They are both very thankful for the stress relief that the meals and visits bring each day.

We recently sent out a survey, and the March results report that 98% say that meals “help reduce my feelings of isolation” and 100% of respondents agreed that “receiving meals improves my quality of life”.

Every person who comes to us has their own story of being humbled by the pressure of medical issues, bills, and trying to perform basic daily tasks, so the thought of preparing a fresh meal is sometimes overwhelming.  Having a visitor to look forward to with a freshly prepared hot balanced lunch makes such a difference in their day physically and emotionally and is often the difference in being able to continue to living independently in their home of having to move into a facility or away with family.

Thank you all so very much!

Child Protection Center

The steadfast support of the Heron Creek Community Foundation ensures all children in North Port have access to abuse prevention education through the Child Protection Center’s (CPC) Personal Safety and Community Awareness program. This is the longest tenured prevention education program in the state, reaching more than 50,000 children and adults annually in the county. The curriculum includes materials for children aged three through adulthood, ensuring that prevention education does not stop in the classroom but is also extended at home and throughout the community. Topics include cyber safety, social media and online trends, bullying prevention, personal body safety, how to find a trusted adult and disclose if needed, and for adults to report appropriately to keep kids safe. As a core pillar of CPC’s mission, prevention is integral in building a community where kids are safe from abuse and free to thrive. Together, the Heron Creek Community Foundation helps the Child Protection Center make a difference and change lives, forever!

Big Brothers & Big Sisters of North Port

Julia is a senior at North Port High school. She is being raised by her father. Tragically, her older brother died of an accidental drug overdose three years ago.  When we met Julia and her father, they were grieving the loss of Julia’s sibling. Julia had just enrolled in high school and this unfathomable loss was not something her peers could relate to or had experienced. This was very isolating for Julia.

We introduced Julia to our Beyond School Walls (BSW) workplace one-to-one mentoring program with the City of North Port. Although she was apprehensive at first, Julia became engaged in the program. She enjoyed learning about the variety of jobs that comprise the workings of the City of North Port. Through BSW and thanks to Julia’s Big, Heather, who is the City Clerk, Julia made connections and learned how to draft her resume and how to interview. With these new skills and connections, Julia was able to land a summer job and part-time academic year job with the City of North Port Aquatic Center. Heather has also provided invaluable emotional support to Julia as she heals from the loss of her brother.

Julia has now been an employee for the City for over a year. Her positive experiences have led her to decide to attend college and study government management. She will also continue to work for the City when she is home during school breaks. And, she will seek part-time employment with the city or county government in the Florida county where she is enrolled in college. The director of the City of North Port Aquatic Center is also a mentor for the Beyond School Walls program, and she is excited to provide a recommendation for Julia for future career opportunities.

Julia is excited about this phase of her life. There have been—and continues to be—many life changes and much personal growth for Julia. She is very proud to be graduating high school and attending college. Her inspiration is that she plans to finish what her brother was not able to do. Julia has made great strides, and she has referred classmates in need to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Family Promise of South Sarasota

All of us at Family Promise of South Sarasota County are incredibly grateful for the support provided by Heron Creek Community Foundation. Your support has been incredibly valuable to us and the families we serve.

The funds received from Heron Creek Community Foundation have been utilized to support children and their families find housing stability in the North Port area.

Without your assistance with these necessary expenses, we would not be able to assist families like the Ulrey family. Lauren and her children currently have been residents in North Port for several years. Lauren was left with no option but to leave her current residence due to the landlord needing to make repairs. As she was preparing for the move, she unexpectedly lost her job resulting in the family being unable to move, which resulted in falling behind on her current rent. Quickly, Lauren was able to obtain a new job and reached out to Family Promise to help assist with the financial gap that was created due to the unexpected loss of income. Family Promise was able to assist the Ulrey family so they could remain stably housed thanks to grants such as this one from Heron Creek Community Foundation.

Thank you for all you do for the community, and your continued support of our agency!

Be a good neighbor and help improve the lives of those around you.

Join the Heron Creek Community Foundation today!

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