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Auction in Land O'Lakes to bank cash for food, fix-up

Ken Buck likes to say "divine inspiration" is what helps the Pasco Food Bank serve meals to more than 21,000 needy people each month.

Extra cash in the coffers doesn't hurt either, particularly when an agency hopes to tile the floors and paint the walls of a new building.

The food bank, which expects to handle a record 1-million pounds of food this year, will hold its annual charity auction and dinner Saturday.

Buck, who is busy with plans for the new building on Ehren Cutoff, hopes to top the $13,500 raised at last year's event.

"The demand for our services is growing, not lessening," he said. "Basically, this is the only independent fund raising we do at the food bank."

Started in 1991, the food bank serves as a distribution center for 75 charitable groups in Pasco and Hernando counties that provide food to the sick and needy.

The food bank has been housed in temporary quarters off U.S. 41 since 1996, when road work forced the group to leave its first home in an old fruit packing plant, also on U.S. 41.

The agency used a $350,000 federal grant to begin work on the new building, situated on 2{ acres of orange grove. Buck expects to make the move by August.

"We've taken down only the orange trees needed to make room for the building," Buck said. "I was planning to advertise the Pasco Food Bank as the only food bank in Florida that grows its own food."

Up for grabs at the auction will be antiques, puppies, mystery gift baskets and a live steer, to be butchered and packaged.

Also on the block is a 1974 poster of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, an autographed pennant from the Tampa Bay Lightning and several autographed photographs from the Buccaneers.

The dinner will be prepared by Roger Moses, owner of the Silver Ring Cafe, and includes a choice of chicken or steak. Guest auctioneers include Pasco County Commissioner Pat Mulieri and Circuit Judge William Webb.

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