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Pasco needs ‘Santas’ for seniors and mentors for youth

News and notes from Pasco County


‘Big’ mentors needed for Pasco youth

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay has scheduled orientation for those interested in becoming mentors to youth in Pasco County. The orientations will provide prospective adult mentors with information on the children the organization serves, the requirements to become a “big,” volunteer commitments and expectations, how to handle cultural differences and the variety of programs offered through the organization. Big Brothers and Big Sisters can spend four to eight hours a month as a mentor. Upcoming sessions include:

• 10:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 7, New Port Richey Public Library, 5939 Main St., New Port Richey.

• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9, WellCare, 5113 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.

No reservations needed. For information, contact Deb Kristol-Irwin at or (813) 997-6881.

Santas needed for Pasco’s seniors

Home Instead Senior Care is hosting its “Be a Santa to a Senior” program in the west Pasco area, where community members can give a senior a special holiday gift.

“Be a Santa to a Senior” trees are at various locations through Dec. 16. Each tree is decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and gift suggestions. Holiday shoppers can select an ornament, purchase the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. Community volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts in time for the holidays.

For tree locations and information, visit or call (727) 845-5819.

Hospice 2020 calendar now available

Gulfside Hospice’s 2020 calendar is available to purchase. The 15-month calendar featuring photos taken in Pasco County, is available at all six Gulfside Hospice Thrift Shoppes, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays.

The calendar is the product of a photo contest held in September. More than 300 photos of Pasco events, places, landmarks and wildlife were submitted, with 19 winning photos chosen to make up the calendar. All proceeds from the sale help support patient care.

The Thrift Shoppes have locations in Dade City, Hudson, Lutz, New Port Richey and Zephyrhills. The calendars are $5. For store addresses and phone numbers, visit or call (727) 845-5707.


Kids host holiday drive

Kids Helping Kids Pasco County will host a Christmas Drive from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at Heritage Park, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. New, unwrapped toys, clothing and shoes will be collected to support local families. For details, visit the Facebook page at


Free HIV testing offered

In recognition of World AIDS Day, the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County will offer a free testing event from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at 10841 Little Road.

The event is held in conjunction with the Public Defender’s Mobile Medical Unit, which offers free rapid HIV and hepatitis C testing at several locations throughout the county each month. Additional free testing for sexually-transmitted diseases is sometimes available as well. For information, visit

Date set to collect hazardous waste

A household hazardous waste and electronics collection event will be offered from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at the West Pasco Government Center complex, 7536 State St. Pasco County residents may dispose of their waste at no cost, but there is a $5 fee for televisions, computer monitors, computer towers and laptops; there is a $10 charge for televisions 36 inches or larger.

For a full list of household hazardous waste items that can be dropped off, visit


County representatives team up for food giveaway

Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano, Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley, Property Appraiser Gary Joiner, Sheriff Chris Nocco, state Sen. Ed Hooper, state Rep. Ardian Zika and state Rep. Amber Mariano, in conjunction with Farm Share, will host the 25th-annual Farm Share Holiday Food Giveaway from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 13 at Faith Baptist Church, 9230 Ridge Road.

The giveaway includes fresh food donated by Florida’s farmers, as well as meat and other items (hams, canned goods, etc.) needed to make a complete holiday meal.

This is a drive-through pickup event. Food will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. No food will be distributed before 9 a.m. For information, call (727) 847-8032 or (727) 847-8179.