Rich Strehl, the executive director of the Brandon Foundation, said people who attend the sixth annual Spring Coffee will be helping well-known charities as well as individuals and families who struggle with life-threatening diseases, fires and catastrophes.
While there is no shortage of unexpected tragedies such as the one experienced by the Seffner sinkhole family, there is also no shortage of big-hearted people in the Brandon area waiting to help, according to Strehl.
He said the brunch, which is a major fundraiser for the foundation, will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 18 at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, 2102 Bell Shoals Road, Brandon.
“We do five major fundraisers throughout the year. The proceeds go to benefit over 50 registered charities,” he said. “Once a charity is registered, they can submit a grant every year and our board reviews it before distributing the money in November.”
Some of the registered charities include Rotary’s Camp Florida, Nativity Catholic School, LifePath Hospice, HOPE, American Cancer Society, Best Buddies Tampa and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
He said the foundation’s Angel program primarily reaches out to individuals and families in the Brandon area including Riverview and FishHawk, but they will help any family in Hillsborough County with an active military member living in the household.
Even if people can’t attend the brunch, Strehl said they are welcome to make a donation by calling or visiting the foundation’s website.
“The event is open to the public,” Strehl said. “Typically, the way people find their way through the door is people will sponsor a table for $100 and then that includes the food. A lot of folks buy the table and invite 8 people. Those people are also asked to bring a gift card valued at $25. Those gift cards are used for our ‘Angel’ families.”
He suggested buying gift cards that may be used at gasoline stations, grocery stores and discount retailers.
Strehl said the brunch will include entertainment and testimonials from some of the families who have been helped by the Angel Program.
“It's a great way to see some of the positive things happening in the community and an opportunity for you to make a difference,” he said. “We use a lot of gift cards throughout the year. We gave the sinkhole family $200 of gift cards after they were pushed out of their home that night. They needed every basic need you could imagine.”
The Brandon Foundation has distributed more than $1.5 million to local charities in the Brandon area. Businesses receive a “Foundation Angel” decal to display, stating they are a “Foundation Angel.”
Individuals may also become Foundation Angel volunteers by serving on committees or volunteering their time to meet requests for help. He said volunteers receive training to work as part of a small team focused on answering pleas for help following life-threatening events and other tragedies.
For more information, visit the Brandon Foundation website at BrandonFoundation.com or call (813) 689-6889.