By LOIS KINDLE
The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay recently gave Samaritan Services a most welcome shot in the arm, awarding the Sun City Center nonprofit a $15,000 grant. The grant was made possible from money left to the foundation by former Sun City Center residents Otto and Vinette Daykin and Merrill Thomas.
“We are so grateful for the funding,” said Lee Leverett, Samaritan Services president. “It will be used to help cover a portion of our gasoline expenses, which cost us about $1,000 a month, and automobile insurance, which now runs $52,000 annually to cover our six vehicles.”
Samaritan Services’ total annual budget for operational and program expenses (SCC Ride, Meals on Wheels, Samaritan Alzheimer’s Auxiliary and out-of-town transportation to medical appointments) is $254, 000. With the exception of one, 35-hour-per-week office manager, the entire operation is volunteer driven.
Funding depends entirely on grants from organizations like the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Interfaith Social Action Council of Sun City Center and the Sun City Center Charitable Foundation, individual, club and organizational donations, estate gifts and the nonprofit’s annual appeal to the community.
Through SCC Ride, Samaritan Services provides free in-town transportation anywhere within its service boundaries for Sun City Center and Kings Point residents. These boundaries include U.S. 301 and Kings Crossing Shopping Center to the east and the Southshore Regional Service Center and Suncoast Community Health Center to the west. The rides are available from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays.
Samaritan Services’ out-of-town transportation to medical appointments anywhere within Hillsborough County (except Plant City) and the VA clinic in Bradenton is also free. Advance notice of 10 to 14 days is required.
The 501(c)3 nonprofit also coordinates the local Meals on Wheels service and, through its Samaritan Alzheimer’s Auxiliary, offers caregivers of Alzheimer patients free respite care for up to 50 hours a year.
The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay can help you establish a fund in your name to benefit others in the community long after you’re gone. You can also contribute to an already established fund that supports your interests. For information, call 813-282-1975.
“We’re so grateful to the generous people who have supported good works in this community through the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay for the past 26 years,” said Wilma Norton, vice president of Marketing and Communications. “This includes the folks who are no longer with us and trusted us to carry on their philanthropy to benefit their neighbors and those who continue to give of their time and treasure to make this such a great community.”
For more information on any of the Samaritan Services free programs, to volunteer or to make a donation, call 813-634-9283.