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Saturday, Jul 12, 2014
Northeast News

Summer camp for foster kids is contingent on proceeds from upcoming fish fry


THONOTOSASSA - In her travels throughout the county Pam Bell, development director for Everyday Blessings, finds it disheartening that many people don't even know the child care agency for abused, neglected and abandoned children exists.

It currently serves 28 youngsters, ranging from newborns to 17-year-old kids, who are housed and cared for on its campus at 13129 St. Frances Lane, just off U.S. 301.

A live-in caregiver is assigned to each of its two-room-efficiency cottages and acts as a surrogate parent. Youngsters in their charge go on field trips, recreational outings and to church as a family.

While the nonprofit agency receives funds from the state's Department of Children and Families, the Children's Board of Hillsborough County and several area foundations, corporations and individual donors, the money isn't enough to cover the cost of providing what the agency considers important recreational activities like summer camp for its children.

The annual Fish Fry, which this year is slated from 2 to 6 p.m. June 15, is intended to raise money specifically for that purpose.

"It costs $750 per child to send them to summer camp," said Bell, who said she is hoping that every child who is able will be afforded the opportunity to participate.

The Fish Fry cost is $12 for adults and $7 for youngsters ages 6 through 18. Children younger than age 6 are free.

They will be treated to a bounce house, face painting and a petting zoo plus goodies like cotton candy and popcorn.

Reservations are recommended. Email Bell at pbell@everydayblessingsinc.com by June 10.

"We are so grateful for the people that are willing to donate their time, food and money at events like the Fish Fry that allow our kids to experience the same activities as kids that are not in foster homes," said Rick Stroud, executive director of Everyday Blessings.

Nic Keuler, Everyday Blessings' residential services director, said the money raised from the event will give youngsters the opportunity to attend either a sports camp or one that focuses more on education and arts and crafts.

"We hope that our friends that know about us will bring their friends to the Fish Fry and while enjoying a great meal they will hear about our mission and our needs and meet the precious children and caregivers," Bell said.

Joyce McKenzie can be reached at JoyceCMcKenzie@gmail.com.