- Household Items
- Sports Items
- Fresh Produce
- Baked Goods
- Meat & Poultry
- Food in Cans
- Help with Rent
- Help with Utilities
- Help with Photo IDs
- Medical Equipment
We at Daystar Life Center of Citrus County realize we can accomplish more good by collaborating or working cooperatively with others than we can alone. As a member of the community, we desire to do our part in helping the impoverished, the underprivileged and the disadvantaged of our community.
Rather than compete for resources, we desire to share our resources or combine them with the resources of other organizations or agencies. By sharing or combining resources, and even by collaborating with others for grants, we can be more effective and efficient in meeting critical needs or in resolving major problems in our community.
Every organization has its own strengths or unique assets or specialized staff. So, by finding partners who complement what we do best, we are stronger together than we can be working apart. Partnerships also limit the duplication of services.
We value the services we are able to enhance, extend or add because of our partnerships with Catholic Charities, United Way, Salvation Army, NAMI Citrus, Community Food Bank, Citrus United Basket and Family Resource Center, local churches, CareerSource, EmployU, Citrus County Transit, Citrus County Blessings, and other partners like Mid Florida Homeless Coalition, Citrus County Housing Services and Mid Florida Community Services.
Descriptions of what we are able to accomplish with each of our partners are provided below:
United Way of Citrus County
We have a history of funding received both through grants provided by and those administered by United Way. Our two organizations combine resources whenever possible in order to help the homeless, particularly homeless veterans through Mission United of United Way. We also coordinate our efforts to help keep low-income residents of Citrus County in their homes or to find more affordable housing. United Way often purchases furniture from the Thrift Store at Daystar for clients they are housing.
For Fiscal Years of 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 United Way awarded housing grants to Daystar. Before Daystar allocates monies from such grants to pay landlords, we try to determine if the rent payments will stabilize the housing crisis for the clients. Daystar asks the clients to provide specific documentation that show they meet eligibility requirements, such as low income and residency in Citrus County. Their income must be sufficient enough to sustain their housing and they need to agree to implement a mutually formed plan to avoid the same circumstances that led to their housing crisis. For the same time periods United Way also awarded Daystar food purchase grants, which increased our buying power to supplement purchases of more nutritious food for our clients.
Presently, United Way and Daystar collaborate on a case-by-case basis to combine our resources to assist Citrus County residents in need.
Salvation Army — Citrus County Corps
For some time Salvation Army and Daystar have worked together to help low-income county residents with past-due rents or utility disconnection notices, even splitting the payments to landlords or utility companies.
Since July 2016 Salvation Army has set up their mobile kitchen in the parking lot of Daystar to feed those in need of a cooked meal. Just about every Tuesday from 4 to 5 p.m. their volunteers, staff, and sometimes Daystar volunteers distribute the meals.
For many years every October and November, the two organizations worked together to register low-income families and individuals of Citrus County for turkeys and other food given out by the Thanksgiving Feeding Alliance. Both organizations are members of the Alliance and serve on its Steering Committee. While Daystar does limited registrations now, our truck is made available for the day before or the day of the distribution, which is the Saturday before Thanksgiving Day in the parking lot of Lowe's in Inverness.
During winter nights when temperatures are expected to be below 40 degrees, Daystar is a site for the homeless to be picked up by a Citrus County Transit bus and taken to be sheltered overnight at the Salvation Army complex in Lecanto.
Catholic Charities — Diocese of St. Petersburg
Daystar is assisting Catholic Charities in the development of affordable rental housing in Citrus County. There will be 18 units split among two single-floor buildings to be constructed in the open field behind Daystar. Construction is expected to start sometime in 2021. This is a Catholic Charities project, funded by Catholic Charities, and will be operated by Catholic Charities. Daystar will assist by providing services to the low-income tenants.
NAMI Citrus Inc. — National Alliance on Mental Illness
In July 2019 Daystar welcomed the local affiliate for the National Alliance on Mental Illness--NAMI Citrus Inc. An office is being provided in our Hoge Building, which is only accessible by the outdoor staircase in our only two-story building. The Knights of Columbus Council 14485 has completely renovated several rooms on the second floor and NAMI Citrus has moved into the newest office space. Daystar's Executive Director is a member of the Board of Directors for NAMI Citrus. NAMI Citrus also provides two different support groups in the same conference room, which are presently held via Zoom on the Internet until the Covid-19 pandemic passes. For more information about those support groups and all the other wonderful programs and assistance that NAMI provides, call 844-687-6264.
Community Food Bank of Citrus County
Daystar is one of over 50 food pantries and feeding programs supplied by the Community Food Bank. Our Executive Director and Pantry Manager are members of the Food Bank’s Advisory Council. Daystar purchases from the Food Bank the majority of its food and is often a beneficiary, as are other member organizations, of many free foods and products procured by the Food Bank. We also work jointly in providing dog and cat food to low-income households for free per availability. Daystar usually goes to the Food Bank on Mondays and sometimes on Thursdays to pick up its food order.
Citrus United Basket (CUB) & Family Resource Center
Occasionally we combine our resources to help one of the neediest who walk into any of our offices. Daystar’s Office Administrator is in regular contact with Citrus United Basket in Inverness and Citrus County Family Resource Center in Hernando.
The three organizations are the only three providing food, clothing and financial assistance five days a week throughout the year to eligible low-income families and individuals throughout Citrus County. Since we are each located in different parts of Citrus County, people in need are being more easily assisted.
We are truly blessed to have many other organizations, agencies and churches in Citrus County that provide food and/or clothing and/or financial help. Some serve the needy only in their geographic sections of the county and some are not open five days a week, but maybe once a week or month.
Our host church, St. Benedict Catholic Church in Crystal River, and the Catholic parishes of St. Scholastica in Lecanto and Our Lady of Grace in Beverly Hills provide substantial financial and volunteer support toward the mission of Daystar.
We also enjoy the cooperation of other churches or their organizations, especially from: Helping Hands of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Inverness; St. Vincent de Paul Society of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Homosassa; Ruth Circle of St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Crystal River; and Gulf To Lake Church in Crystal River.
CareerSource & EmployU Training Worksite
The Regional Workforce Development Board (commonly known as CareerSource) of Citrus, Levy and Marion counties and Daystar Life Center have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to establish Daystar as a training worksite. CareerSource sends candidate trainees (when available) to Daystar for interviews, and Daystar decides which persons to accept into this work program. CareerSource provides compensation to the trainees, including liability and claims coverage for work-related injury or illness. Daystar provides the working environment and training, which will include the development of job skills and good work habits. So far, three people have completed this program here and each have been a welcomed and hard-working trainee at Daystar.
Daystar has the same kind of relationship with EmployU, a nonprofit employment service. We are working together to provide an On-the-Job Training experience for high school students in our thrift store. We have had two delightful teenagers interning to date, who have provided us with great help.
Citrus County Transit
We are happy to be able to provide space for a bus stop for Citrus County Transit, which is a nice convenience for our clients, customers and sometimes for volunteers. However, the Orange Line is suspended until the pandemic passes, but door-to-door bus service is available by appointment. Call (352) 527-7630 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Pre-pandemic and hopefully post-pandemic during the winter months, the homeless have our bus stop available for free transportation to the cold weather shelter provided by the Salvation Army.
When the Orange Line is available, buses make regular stops in the parking lot of Daystar fronting Gulf To Lake Highway, which is also State Road 44. The bus stop is located on the left-hand side as you face our Thrift Store.
To see the schedule for the Daystar bus stop, look for Stop No. 5 at http://citruscountytransit.com/orange/schedule-crystal-river.html
Daystar also has ongoing relationships with the following agencies and organizations to provide either rent or utility assistance to those with low income in Citrus County, whenever funding is available:
- Mid Florida Homeless Coalition, Inc.
- Citrus County Housing Services
- Mid Florida Community Services