published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Fundraiser to help homeless students
ROXANNE BROWN | Staff Writer
New Beginnings plans a fundraiser on Saturday to help the nearly 3,000 homeless students in Lake County with things such as food and clothing through the holidays and beyond.
The organization's 4th annual Christmas Gala is slated from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. at Gaby's Banquet facility, 699 N. U.S. Highway 27. Tickets are $39 person and include refreshments, dinner, dancing, live music, a silent auction, door prizes and complimentary pictures.
"It's a great time for a worthy cause," New Beginnings' spokesperson Sandy Farnsworth said, adding that in years past, attendees have had a great time. "It's a night where people can dress up for an elegant dinner."
Upon entering, guests will be greeted by members of the Moonlight Players Theatre with Christmas Carols. There will also be beer and wine tasting and music by "Past Tense," a local group well known in the area.
"The reason we have events like this is because it gives people the opportunity to help us help and at the same time, deliver something fun to do in return," said Steve Smith, New Beginnings' founder and president.
Smith, who also sits on the county's homeless coalition board, said the number of people needing help has tripled in the past five years.
"The number of homeless students in Lake County alone has gone from significantly, from like 100 in 2007 to nearly 300 in 2012," he said. "We have the 4th highest percentage of increase in the entire state of Florida."
Schools don't have a lot of money to throw at the problem and there are no emergency shelters in Lake County, leaving it up to organizations like New Beginnings to help where they can.
"A lot of people have lost their jobs and some who do have jobs, make so little that they can no longer afford their homes with what they have," Smith said. "There is a three-year wait on Section 8 affordable housing..., it gives them no choice but to live in their cars or at hotels."
Call 352-404-6946 or go to www.newbeginningslake.org.