Individuals, Families Receive Holiday Meal Support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Kathleen K. Catlin Foundation.
SARASOTA, FL – The Kathleen K. Catlin Foundation fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County recently awarded $88,000 to nine local human services organizations to cover end-of-year needs for their clients, primarily to provide holiday meals for individuals and families. Each year the Kathleen K. Catlin Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation allocates a number of grants to support organizations working to help families around the holidays.
For many recipients of the support, holiday meals are something they look forward to all-year round. “What’s not to look forward to?!” says Dahmen Griswold, a client of Meals on Wheels of Sarasota. “Last year for Christmas they delivered roast beef, mashed potatoes … all covered with a delicious au jus, veggies, and some pumpkin pie to top it off.”
Griswold’s life got turned upside down in 2007 when a mysterious infection wrapped around her spinal cord, leaving her as a quadriplegic and unable to speak. The retired professional surfer was rushed from where she lived in El Salvador to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. After months of rehabilitative work, Griswold eventually recovered to the point where she could move about with the help of a walker, but the infection left her with memory problems. Noticing that she had trouble forgetting to turn the stove off, her father signed her up for Meals on Wheels.
“These services have given me part of my freedom back, and the volunteers are just incredible people. They are warm, hospitable, understanding, and I trust them. If I’m not home, I trust them to go into my condo to drop the food off.”
Steve Juricic has been volunteering for Meals on Wheels for more than 15 years, formerly serving on their Board of Directors and then spending time as a food packer and delivery driver. He notes the importance of the service during the holidays and why it’s his favorite time of the year. “Many of the people we deliver to don’t have a lot of contact with other people throughout their days. When it comes to the holidays, their families have either passed away, or they live up north. So to them, we are sort of their family.”
Juricic also makes a special note to bring along dog treats and toys for the clients that have pets. “It’s rewarding,” says Juricic. “Just the ‘hello’ and ‘thank you,’ to see the smile on their face, it’s something special. It’s all about them smiling.”
For Griswold, this year will be a little different. She won’t be anticipating the same Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce that she looks forward to each year. “This year my family will be in town. They’re taking me to Marina Jacks for Thanksgiving!”
The recipient organizations of this year’s grants are as follows: All Faiths Food Bank, Laurel Civic Association, Meals on Wheels of Sarasota, Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC), Sarasota Family YMCA, Senior Friendship Centers, South Biscayne Baptist Church, South County Food Pantry, and St. Jude Hispanic-American Catholic Church.
About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County: The Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of over $333 million in more than 1,400 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling more than $33 million dollars this past year in the areas of education, health and human services, the arts, animal welfare, and the environment. Since our founding, more than $217 million has been invested back into the community through grants and scholarships. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org.