Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando fundraiser by Gifts from Home will help fill boxes for troops

SPRING HILL — Residents wanting to send good wishes to the troops overseas can do so at a forthcoming Gifts from Home fundraiser — and they might win a trip to the Florida Keys, too.

It will be the second annual major drive to stoke the coffers of Gifts from Home, the Hernando County grass roots effort that already has sent more than 1,810 boxes of goodies to military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. This year's drive will feature a raffle for a "Key West Basket," a three-day, two-night stay in a motel on Duval Street.

The fundraiser on Saturday at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10209 on Edward R. Noll Boulevard will include a dinner at 6:30 p.m., with several raffles and an auction.

Highlighting the auction are an autographed driving suit donated by former NASCAR driver Richard Petty, an autographed picture of retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and an autographed photograph of Jamie Farr, who played Maxwell Klinger in the TV series M*A*S*H.

Gifts from Home operates year round, but the fundraiser is a major booster, said founder Linda Kidwell.

Of particular help have been Walgreens, with all of the local drugstores urging customers to purchase and donate to the charity a particular item each week, Kidwell said.

"So far, I have 8,564 bags of M&M's, 1,680 Oreo Brownies (packages), shampoo, lotions, hair conditioners, shower gel, and the list goes on," Kidwell said. "I had to have a yard sale to make room for the donations.

"I keep praying for a place to be able to store the donations and to pack the boxes so we will be able to have more community involvement."

Kidwell's troop support differs somewhat from other efforts in the area. While various groups send cookies, hygiene items and messages, Gifts from Home's boxes include some frivolities: clown noses, water balloons in camouflage colors, bottles of blowing bubbles, Santa Claus hats, reindeer ears.

"It's a little bit of home," Kidwell explained, "to get their mind off the war — quirky little things as well as what's needed."

And the effort reaches beyond the troops to orphaned children in Iraq and Afghanistan, with boxes of school supplies such as pencils, tablets and flash cards, Kidwell said.

Those attending the fundraiser are urged to bring an item that can be sent to the troops or children. Advance tickets for the pork roast dinner, raffle and auction are $16.50 and are available at the VFW and at Pristine Liquors at Barclay Crossing. About half of the proceeds will go to Gifts from Home.

Kidwell's effort has been fueled by her concern for her husband, Larry, a Vietnam veteran who continues to suffer from posttraumatic stress syndrome.

Beth Gray can be contacted at


How to help

To make contributions to Gifts from Home or make reservations for Saturday's fundraiser, contact Linda Kidwell at (352) 684-4185. Advance tickets for the pork roast dinner, raffle and auction are $16.50 and are available at VFW Post 10209, 14736 Edward R. Noll Drive, Spring Hill, and at Pristine Liquors at Barclay Crossing, at Barclay Avenue and Spring Hill Drive.

Hernando fundraiser by Gifts from Home will help fill boxes for troops 10/13/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 6:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Cal Foote said he was so young when his father, Adam, played in the NHL, he didn't remember their hug in the Avalanche's dressing room during the 2001 Stanley Cup celebration.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary celebration

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.