Catholic Charities

Jerry McCully, 46, likes to arrive early at the Citrus Outreach Center in Homosassa on Tuesdays and Thursdays and draws while waiting for lunch to be served. The center, an outreach of Catholic Charities, offers a free meal twice a week to anyone who comes. The center is at 9020 W. Atlas Drive, Homosassa.

Jerry McCully, 46, has a favorite table when he comes to the Catholic Charities Citrus Outreach Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The building at the end of the winding Atlas Drive off U.S. 19 in Homosassa is not easy to find, but well worth the effort for McCully.

“I’m disabled and I’ve been coming here for about a year,” he said.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the outreach center opens its doors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a free hot meal from Blessings Soup Kitchen served at noon -- sometimes chicken, sometimes fish or ribs or something else that’s delicious.

McCully likes to come early and draw.

“I can’t see very well, and I’m also dyslexic -- I can’t read or write. But I discovered I could draw,” he said. “I just had an urge to draw about a year ago and I just started drawing.”

He also discovered that the people at the Citrus Outreach Center could help connect him with the Lions Club, a community resource that helps people with eyesight problems.

He also gets help with groceries through the center’s partnership with We Care Food Pantry.

“It’s a blessing to have this place,” he said.

Although the center isn’t new, the outreach coordinator, Diadre Basagic, is new, since July.

Also, the center has recently been updated and refreshed.

“Recently we have felt the love of the community by some wonderful donations  to help us make our facility look and feel nice for all that come into our doors for help,” Basagic said. “Sunshine Nursery and Anson Nursery donated plants and mulch to beautify our entryway.”

Inside the building, local artists painted a mural in the free clothing boutique area and other individuals from the community have donated things such as electronics and a TV mount so people can watch the news while they relax and wait for lunch or other services.

An outreach of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, the center offers a number of free services. In addition to Blessings Soup Kitchen, Clothing Closet and We Care Food Pantry, Access Florida is there to help people with food stamps, Medicaid and temporary cash assistance.

Also, the Pregnancy and Family Life Center offers a full slate of services to families, from pregnancy and beyond.

Basagic said she is currently waiting for grant approval to install a shower in each of the men’s and women’s bathrooms and put in a washer and dryer.

“We have people who live in the woods here in Homosassa, and we want them to be able to come in and get cleaned up, wash their clothes and have a hot meal, and maybe use some of the services we have,” she said.

She added that they just got several computers with Internet access that she wants to make available for people to use to apply for jobs online.

However, before that can happen, she’s looking for volunteer “employment coaches” -- someone who has experience applying for jobs and who can help people navigate online applications, which can be tricky if you’ve never done it before.

Also, she hopes to add another day for Blessings Soup Kitchen, add services to help veterans and GED assistance and tutoring.

“We want people to know we’re here and we have all these wonderful services for people,” she said. “And it’s not just for Catholics. We’re faith-based, but you can be any faith or no faith at all. We just want you to please come.”

Basagic said she also needs volunteers for a variety of jobs.

The center is located at 9020 W. Atlas Drive, Homosassa.

For more information, call Diadre Basagic at 813-624-8978 or email: dbasagic@ccdosp.org.

Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.

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