If your child asked for bread, who among you would give that child a stone? Or for fish, would give a serpent? Jesus had asked those questions to illustrate that God the Father is no less generous to his children in his giving. And we at Daystar Life Center of Citrus County know that God’s people are just as generous too.
Two months ago, a fundraising campaign was begun to raise money for this year’s rent and mortgage assistance program at Daystar. The program would be out of money at the start of the new Fiscal Year in July. We didn’t ask for bread or fish, but we did ask for donations of at least $100. We didn’t get stones or serpents in return, we got much more.
A goal of $10,000 would allow the program to continue on a limited basis to the end of 2019. Thanks to just 36 donors, $20,370 was raised, which allows us to do much more. And 56 percent of those donors were Daystar volunteers and employees. We thank all donors for helping us help others.
The campaign was tied to the Valspar Championship, a golf tournament and fundraising event run by Copperhead Charities Inc. at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor this past week. Copperhead Charities will be adding 15 percent, bringing the total effort to $23,425.50.
In addition to the many personal donations, we received donations from a few organizations: $6,000 from Central Citrus County Rotary Club; $3,000 from Inverness Elks Lodge 2522; $1,000 from Knights of Columbus Council 6168; and $500 from Knights of Columbus Council 14485.
Now before people come running to us for help with rent or mortgage payments, our program has very specific criteria. It is reserved for low-income households with children under the age of 18, residing within Citrus County, who have sufficient income to continue the payments after receiving our assistance. The families must produce evidence of the circumstances that led to their financial crisis, which was caused by factors beyond their control, not because of foolish mismanagement of their finances. For example an illness, injury from an accident, lay off from employment, fire or storm damage would be beyond one’s control, while exorbitant cell phone or cable TV costs, the purchase of unaffordable luxuries or a vehicle beyond one’s means would be reasons we could not help.
Our rent and mortgage assistance program is also available to prevent homelessness of any low-income resident at immediate risk of losing their housing. They, too, must have sufficient income to sustain that housing after receiving our help. We must be able to verify their crisis as described above.
Those receiving assistance must also implement mutually agreed upon steps to avert falling into financial distress again. Daystar will connect them to the resources available in the county that will help them improve their circumstances and empower them to move forward with greater stability in their lives.
To see other eligibility criteria go to the Social Services tab at www.DaystarCitrusCounty.org or call our office at 352-795-8668. Daystar is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. We invite new volunteers to join us and more donors to help us fund our food pantry and other social services, such as utility help to avert disconnections and non-narcotic medical prescriptions. To donate, go to our website or drop off or mail donations to Daystar Life Center, 6751 W. Gulf-to-Lake Highway, Crystal River FL 34429.
Anthony D. Kopka is executive director of Daystar Life Center.