- Household Items
- Sports Items
- Fresh Produce
- Baked Goods
- Meat & Poultry
- Food in Cans
- Help with Rent
- Help with Utilities
- Help with Photo IDs
- Non-Narcotic Prescriptions
- Medical Equipment
The Food Pantry at Daystar Life Center of Citrus County is one of the largest in the county in terms of the amount of food that is distributed to people in need. Thus, it is the biggest service that we offer, because county residents who meet our eligibility criteria may receive at least one week’s worth of groceries up to six (6) times per year. The homeless may come for food up to 10 times per year, because they are unable to carry as much out from the pantry.
We buy the bulk of our food from the Community Food Bank of Citrus County, getting several pallets of non-perishable foods, frozen meat and poultry, produce and baked goods twice a week. We are careful to shop frugally, mostly at the Food Bank and at stores with discounted prices. In 2016 we spent $37,441 to purchase food.
We distributed 165,109 pounds of food to 1,990 households in 2016. That is the equivalent to feeding over 5,500 adults and children, because 51% came only one time for food, while other households came up to six times during the year.
The homeless, who have no means to cook, receive foods ready to eat. All other households, which may include one to 12 persons, will receive enough groceries to last at least a week. They receive frozen beef, pork, chicken or turkey; fresh bread or rolls; other baked goods; fresh or nearly fresh fruit and vegetables; a variety of canned vegetables, fruit, soup, tuna, stew, and pasta with or without meat; also, peanut butter and jelly, rice, macaroni and cheese, pasta, sauce, cold cereal, and even snacks.
We are very grateful for the food donations from churches, schools, civic and social clubs, charitable organizations and individuals throughout the year, most of which comes from food drives or food collections for Daystar. Likewise, we are very thankful to the letter carriers of the U.S. Postal Service who hold a county-wide food drive for us and other food pantries every May and October. We receive anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 pounds of nonperishable foods twice a year from the Crystal River and Lecanto branches combined. Many businesses also donate surplus or leftover food regularly, especially Publix in Crystal River where we get a variety of surplus fresh breads and rolls four times a week.
We welcome anyone to conduct a nonperishable food drive (food in cans, boxes and plastic jars---no glass please). However, we can only accept items that are in original, undamaged packaging, which are not beyond the stamped expiration date.
Please call (352) 795-8668 before planning a food drive and ask for the Executive Director or Pantry Manager. There are some guidelines people need to know when planning one. We would also like to get an estimate of what to expect and when, so that we may plan our purchases accordingly.
The Daystar truck may be scheduled to pick up large quantities of food that individuals, groups or businesses would like to donate to our Food Pantry.
Produce is the most difficult to obtain. We have dedicated volunteers who plant a large garden on our grounds, which is harvested in the spring and fall. However, we rely mostly on whatever salads, vegetables and fruit that supermarkets are able to donate to the Food Bank. Understandably, such donations can amount to being little and not very fresh. However, the Church Without Walls and the Community Food Bank get weekly truckloads of produce fresh from Florida farms and orchards. Daystar is a regular beneficiary of this subsidized second harvest of Florida crops. It is available upon delivery to Daystar for clients without any restrictions, except they may only take what they can carry out and it may not be sold.
We also welcome anyone who has surplus from their own gardens or orchards to donate to our pantry. We even have people with numerous chickens who donate their surplus eggs.
Besides food drives and those who come in to donate food, we welcome financial support, too. Monetary donations may be designated specifically for food purchases. Also, please consider holding a fundraising event for our Food Pantry as well as our other Social Services. We are grateful to those who donate proceeds from their events and to individuals or families who are donating from $10 to $240 monthly throughout the year.
Daystar would not exist without the generosity of our donors and the dedication of our volunteers. Thank you!