Restaurants partake in charitable giving

THE VILLAGES | Fifteen restaurants attracted more than 400 people to the Taste of the Villages fundraiser for Catholic Charities of Central Florida’s Lazarus Free Medical Clinic, Feb. 4. The clinic offers free medical care to the many uninsured in Sumter, Lake and Marion counties.

Coordinator Renee Baker noted that half of those attending were new to the event. She was glad to report, “There was 100% participation in the increased ticket price of $75, which covers the cost of one patient visit.”

The new cocktail hour at the Savannah Center included a live band, added restaurants and cocktail tastings. Of the $48,000 raised, close to $10,000 came solely from the silent auction. Although next year’s location is yet to be determined, Baker is counting on the event’s continued growth.

The Lazarus Free Medical Clinic is a program of Catholic Charities of Central Florida in partnership with the San Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Mission in Wildwood. The poor served at the clinic see it as their “medical home,” said Jennifer Stephenson-Crouch, senior director of healthcare at the facility. She noted, most often patients come with serious issues – hypertension, diabetes, or cancer. “By the time they get to us, whatever medical condition they have has risen above the basic need for food and shelter.” Cardiologists, neurologists, doctors, nurses and most staff are all volunteers.

By Glenda Meekins of the Florida Catholic February 21, 2020