HOLIDAY — Summer camp is a dream for most children. However, it is not always financially feasible for their parents.
Joining Hands Kids Camp helps make this dream come true for children whose families are experiencing homelessness or financial hardships.
From July 28 through Aug. 1, the all-day camp will be for children kindergarten age through fifth grade. Hosted by the Community United Methodist Church, 3214 U.S. 19 in Holiday, the camp is from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
"This is our second year of doing this," said Melody Deboiras, who works at the church. "We will be providing breakfast and lunch for the children and a full day's curriculum including vacation Bible school programming."
Deboiras says the camp is targeting financially burdened families who qualify for reduced-price or free lunches at school.
In addition to a fun-filled day at the end of the week, each child will received a fully packed back-to-school backpack, new sneakers and some gently used clothing as well as new socks and underwear to take home.
Last year 200 volunteers, both youths and adults, helped with the camp for 75 children. This year the camp can accommodate 110 children.
"It takes a village to accomplish this," Deboiras said.
A few of the many churches and other organizations uniting to put on the camp include eight United Methodist churches, the United Methodist Cooperative Ministries, the Women of Hope of the United Methodist Church, Idlewild Baptist Church, Solid Rock Victorious Church, the Salvation Army, the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County, West Pasco Habitat for Humanity, the United Way of Pasco County and Morton Plant Mease Parish Nurse Services.
Several individuals and businesses are also a part of the endeavor, including Publix, Walgreens, McDonald's of Port Richey and New Port Richey, and CARES of Tampa Bay.
The Rev. Dan Campbell, pastor of the host church and president of the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County, said the idea of the project is to bless the community.
"This is such a joyful thing to do and so much fun," Campbell said. "Within the first couple of hours we become confused as to who is doing the giving and who is receiving."
Call (727) 937-3268 to register.