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Tuesday, Jul 28, 2015
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Nonprofit groups hold fundraiser for food pantry

Special to The Suncoast News


Disaster relief has become one of the most important causes that needs support because of the devastating aftermath of natural disasters. Local nonprofit organizations joined together to help raise money for people in Pasco County who are rebuilding their lives after these calamities.

Fresh Start and Charley’s Angels hosted a fundraiser called the “Hudson Porcelain Toilet Bowl,” along with Enough of Bullying, at the USA Fleamarket. The event aimed to raise money for the food pantry supported by both organizations.

The two nonprofit organizations work together to help the families in need here. Charley’s Angels focuses on early response with disaster relief while Fresh Start aims for long-term recovery from disasters.

The organizations maintain a food pantry based at USA Fleamarket. Both groups were founded and run by Jan Martini.

“I have a lot of respect for these families that are struggling because they aren’t giving up,” Martini said.

Enough of Bullying is an organization that takes a stand against bullying. At the event, EOB gave out coloring books that included contracts for youngsters to sign against bullying. Elite Martial Arts provided a demonstration on self-protection.

The local vendors from the flea market came together for the event to support the causes. “Smaller businesses have each other’s backs,” Martini said. “We support each other.”

The event had several booths, including R.J. Kielty, ice cream, Pierogi Delights, Jumping Jacks kid’s fun zone, and Carol’s Gifts, which gave free name engraving on children’s bikes.

Prize drawings throughout the day included around $800 worth of gift cards from many businesses at the flea market, as well as a toilet from R.J. Kielty, the Hudson-based plumbing firm from which the event got its name.

Winter Rose, a commercial rock band, and Gypsy Raine, a classic rock band, provided the music.

Robbie’s Crystal Dragonfly performed a fashion show with youngsters showing off the formal wear that the shop sells.

There were even appearances from the Power Rangers and Miss Junior Teen Florida USA, 13-year-old Simona Rivero.

David Overbeck, the operations manager of the USA Fleamarket, believes that these types of fundraisers can help spread the word of an important cause. “Power of that work is huge. Any of your messages get told ten fold or fifty fold,” Overbeck said. “It just branches out.”

Despite the amount of entertainment and vendors, the organizations fell short of the goal to raise $6,000. “We’re all in the same economy and struggle, but we’ve created some great friends,” Martini said.

To visit Charley’s Angels and Fresh Start’s food pantry, visit the USA Fleamarket at U.S. 19 and S.R. 52. The phone number is (727) 862-3583.