Giving Back to Our Community
The holiday season has always been a special time of year at Centauri. It’s the time of year when we reflect on how lucky we are and look for ways to spread the joy of the holidays to as many people as possible through working with local charities. And one of our favorite charities to support has always been Mayors' Feed the Hungry. Year after year we have come together as a team to donate our time sorting food donations knowing that our hard work would help make the holidays a little happier for needy families.
The program was started 32 years ago by then-Sarasota Mayor Fred Akins as a way to make sure the Sarasota and Manatee county food banks had enough food during the holidays for those who depend on them. Over the years the program has expanded to include food drives, community feedings and providing food gift cards throughout the year. The problem of hunger is so prevalent in our area that the program is now endorsed by all nine mayors in both Sarasota and Manatee counties as well as the County Commission Chairpersons.
With the dangers of COVID-19 still looming in November, program organizers called on all their supporters to help out differently. Instead of distributing food, the food bank decided to distribute gift cards to those in need so they could purchase their own food. This was not only safer but it also gave recipients some measure of choice by allowing them to purchase items that they preferred. Without missing a step, everyone at Centauri pitched in and, with a generous match from the company, were able to raise $2,620. Since its inception, Mayors' Feed the Hungry program has collected over 600 tons of food and over $3,600,000 in food gift cards.
Another Centauri holiday tradition is supporting a local toy drive. This year we partnered with Andrea Capek from Exit Realty to make the holidays brighter for children in our area. This year her toy drive supported 4 amazing local charities: SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center), Child Protection Center, Mothers Helping Mothers, and Children First. Besides collecting gifts at the office, we also volunteered at the final donation party where all the gifts were distributed to the charities. In all, we were able to reach over 1,400 children this year.
While we've traditionally focused our efforts on the food and toy drives, we are always looking for additional ways to give back to the community. In that spirit, we joined several other organizations from all over the area to support Wreaths Across America. Their mission at the Sarasota National Cemetery is to honor every military member, their spouses and other family members interred there.
Adam and Bird