BIG LOTS SCHOOL CHALLENGE: Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics and Weeki Wachee High School have submitted videos in this year's Big Lots Lots2Give Contest.
The community can help the local schools by submitting votes through July 7. Vote at biglots.com/lots2give. Supporters can vote three times a day on any device that is connected to the Internet.
Eligible schools were invited to submit short videos and brief essays explaining how they would benefit from additional financial support. Winning schools will share $120,000 in cash prizes, which include one $20,000 grand prize, two $10,000 first-place prizes, four $5,000 second-place prizes and 30 $2,000 third-place prizes.
Also, the schools can benefit from an in-store donation program. Customers can help selected schools by donating $1 or $5 at participating Big Lots stores through July 7. All donations will go to participating schools.
FREE BUS RIDES: In observance of the eighth annual National Dump the Pump Day, THE Bus, Hernando County's public transit system, will offer a "Free Fare Day" on Thursday.
National Dump the Pump Day is sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association; its purpose is to encourage people to ride public transportation as a way to save money.
For information, call (352) 754-4444 or visit hernandobus.com.
SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING: Family Night at the Arc will be at 6 p.m. June 27 at the Arc Nature Coast's Education Center at 6495 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill.
Speakers will include attorney Gregory G. Gay of the Nature Coast Law Offices and insurance/financial adviser James M. Millsaps. The program topic is special needs planning, such as guardianships and special needs trusts.
There is no cost to attend. A complimentary spaghetti dinner will be served.
For reservations, call (352) 544-2322, ext. 109.
LIBERAL MINDS WANTED: The Hernando County Progressive Caucus is seeking individuals of "liberal and progressive minds" who are interested in running for political office in 2014.
The caucus wants to conduct a yearlong study and practice course to get candidates ready for the campaign. The caucus is also seeking new members. For information, call (352) 403-7940.
MEALS ON WHEELS NEEDS VOLUNTEERS: Hernando County's Meals on Wheels program needs volunteers. Due to seasonal residents heading back north, the program has seen a 40 percent drop in volunteer drivers.
Meals are delivered between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. weekdays. Drivers are asked to commit to at least one route per week. Volunteers pick up meals for their route at 10 a.m. on their assigned day at the site behind Oak Hill Hospital and should expect the deliveries to homebound residents to take between 60 and 90 minutes.
Requirements to be a volunteer driver include having reliable transportation, a valid driver's license and the minimum auto insurance required by the state. All new drivers must undergo a background check. All volunteer drivers receive reimbursement for mileage.
To learn more or to sign up to be a volunteer driver, call Mary Stahl at (352) 796-1426.
SUMMER FOOD PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN: The Cruisin' Cafe, a free summer food program for Hernando County children, provides healthy meals for children ages 2 through 18 at various locations throughout the county by way of a converted school bus that has been transformed into a diner on wheels.
Breakfast is served from 8 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon on weekdays through Aug. 9 at the following locations:
• Moton Elementary School, 7175 Emerson Road, Brooksville
• Brooksville Elementary School, 885 N Broad St., Brooksville
• Jerome Brown Community Center, 99 Jerome Brown Place, Brooksville,
• Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 200 Mount Fair Ave., Brooksville
• Eastside Elementary School, 27151 Roper Road, east of Brooksville (closed the week of July 4)
• Westside Elementary School, 5400 Applegate Drive, Spring Hill (closed the week of July 4)
• Bridgewater Club Apartments, 4300 Bridgewater Club Loop, Spring Hill
• Explorer K-8 School, 10252 Northcliffe Blvd., Spring Hill
• Bright Beginnings Preschool, 3013 Landover Blvd., Spring Hill
• Spring Hill Christian Academy, 3140 Mariner Blvd., Spring Hill
• St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 13485 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill
• J.D. Floyd K-8 School, 3139 Dumont Ave., Spring Hill
• Mrs. B's Daycare, 13238 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill
• Powell Middle School, 4100 Barclay Ave., Spring Hill
• West Hernando Middle School, 14325 Ken Austin Parkway, west of Brooksville
• Sand Hill Scout Reservation, 11210 Cortez Blvd., Spring Hill
• Great Beginnings 2, 10155 Cortez Blvd., Weeki Wachee
• Christian Church in the Wildwood, 10051 Country Road, north of Weeki Wachee
Lunch only will be served from 11 to 11:45 a.m. weekdays at Delta Woods Park, 3400 Deltona Blvd., Spring Hill, and from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m. at the Elks Lodge at 501 Dr. M.L. King Jr. Blvd., Brooksville.
For information, contact the Hernando County schools food and nutrition services department at (352) 797-7028.