Basket Fest Nov. 17

It's finally happening! We've found a date and location for the long-delayed distribution of 52 gorgeous gift baskets left over from the Senior Opportunity Zone (SOZO) conference, which was canceled in March because of COVID-19.

I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

Basket Fest

Donation Raffle

Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020

11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Havana Country Club Breezeway

2484 Odell Circle, The Villages

These baskets will make wonderful gifts for the holidays.​ Each basket has a theme (e.g., food, sports & recreation, beauty care, art supplies, guest passes, gift certificates, etc.). To see what's available, click Basket List


We are also having a small Silent Auction, at which you can bid on a homemade quilt, barbecue supplies, a boxed set of New Yorker Magazine cartoons, and perhaps an original print by Bobby Goldsboro!

The Basket Fest will be in the open breezeway at Havana CC. You can drop off your raffle tickets any time over the four hours of the event, thus allowing for social distancing. Wearing a mask is requested. All proceeds will be used to support our Angel Tree and holiday meals projects.


Obtaining Raffle Tickets

Pick up raffle tickets at the entrance to the Havana CC breezeway from 11 a.m.- 2:50 p.m., on Thursday, Nov. 17. The raffle and silent auction will close at 3 p.m., and the winners will be announced at 3:05 p.m. You do not need to stay the whole time. However, we request that you pick up your winnings between 3:15-4 p.m. at Havana CC.


The suggested donation for raffle tickets is $5 for 6 tickets, $10 for 15 tickets, $20 for 35 tickets.

Enjoy Music & a Meal

Havana CC Restaurant will be open, as usual, during the 

Basket Fest. Please consider thanking them for supporting us

by ordering lunch and listening to the delightful singing of

Nevin Mann, who will perform in the breezeway.

Anyone donating at least $5 for raffle tickets will receive a

$5-off meal coupon, good for 30 days at Havana.

If You Bought Tickets for the SOZO Conference

Those of you who purchased tickets for the Senior Opportunity Zone (SOZO) conference in March may recall that you are due five "free" raffle tickets as part of your conference fee. You can pick up those raffle tickets at the entrance to the Havana CC breezeway between 11 a.m.-2:50 p.m. on the 17th. They'll be waiting for you! We hope you will consider obtaining more raffle tickets, as well. :-)

 'FRIENDS-Giving Dinner'

& Christmas Dinner

“FRIENDS-Giving” is a mashup of the word "friends"

and “thanksgiving." What better way for FRIENDS of

SoZo Kids to celebrate Thanksgiving than to share 

with others the bounty and blessings we so freely

enjoy! Unfortunately, many SoZo Kids families don’t

have proper cooking facilities in their homes. For the

first time, we're collecting donations of cash to

purchase fully prepared turkey dinners to serve families on Thanksgiving. 


We are a little over halfway toward our goal of blessing 50 families. With your help, we will take care of purchasing the meals, and Pastor Dave will take care of delivering them. 

Click on the button below to donate:

      Dinner for 4 – $30 donation

      Dinner for 8 – $50 donation

Christmas Meals

Families living in poverty in the Ocala National Forest lack the funds to buy the food items they need to serve their family a special Christmas dinner. There are TWO ways you can help:


  1. Donate toward the purchase 200 hams in bulk at only $15/each. CLICK HERE to help us reach our goal of providing 200 families with a 10-12 lb. ham.

  2. Shop for all the trimmings to create a Christmas Dinner Fixings Bag. CLICK HERE for shopping list. Place all the food items in an inexpensive, reusable cloth bag; tie at the top; and drop off your Fixings bag(s) on either of our two drop-off days where volunteers will help unload your car:

10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 21, or Saturday, Dec. 5

Compass Storage

4477 E. Co. Rd. 466

Oxford, FL 34484

Thank you! Email us if you have questions.

Driveway Parties UPDATE!
Angel Tree 
Now till Dec. 5

Join us for our third annual Angel Tree

project. We need sponsors for about 150

children at the after-school programs at

Forest Lakes Park (FLP) and Sandy Acres 

(SA) and their siblings. If interested, you

can also sponsor a parent and/or donate

toward a Christmas meal for the entire

family. We are also collecting generic

gifts for teenagers. To see popular teen

wishes, click Teenager List.

How to Sponsor

Individuals or groups are welcome as sponsors. Two separate wish lists are available on SignUpGenius: 

  • Forest Lakes Park (FLP) serves about 30 children and their siblings. This list begins with 17 sibling and parent groupings, followed by individual children.

  • Sandy Acres (SA) serves about 50 children plus their siblings. There are some sibling groups but mostly individual children.

The process is simple:

1.  Click on one of these links, which will bring you to SignUpGenius:

     Forest Lakes Park (FLP)

     Sandy Acres (SA)

2.  Scroll through the names to see individual wish lists.

3.  Click on the person(s) you want to sponsor.   

4.  Provide your contact info so we can reach you, if needed.

How to Shop

We hope each child will receive clothing, sneakers, and at least one fun gift. In most cases, there will be only one sponsor per child. If a child requests a more expensive item (e.g., tablet, bicycle, Vans shoes, chicken coop [really!], or a video game), then there are two donor slots. 

However, if you are only able to purchase one or two items, that is perfectly fine. Every gift is appreciated.

Watch for sales, and use your Senior Discount, if you are eligible for one.

Dropping Off Your Purchases

1.  Place your UNWRAPPED gifts, with tags removed, in a large garbage 

     bag (to hide the contents). Teenager gifts can be placed into gift

     bags or any other container.

2.  For individually sponsored kids, attach a piece of paper that contains

     the following information:

         - ID number and name of child (e.g., FLP-A1, Ayden, Boy, 13).

         - YOUR name and phone number

3.  DO NOT include your name or contact information INSIDE the bag

     with your gifts. This is for your safety and privacy.

4.   Donations of gift bags and tissue paper are welcome. Include them

     in your bag of goodies.

 Drop-Off Dates & Location

10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 21 & Dec. 5

Compass Storage

4477 E County Road 466, Oxford, FL 34484 

Want Us to Do the Shopping?

If shopping is not your thing, click Shop for Me, and we'll use your donation to purchase gifts that are still needed.

If you have questions about the Angel Tree project, write to us at

Drop-Off Bin at NLPC

Friends of SoZo Kids has a drop-off box in the lobby of North Lake Presbyterian Church, 975 Rolling Acres Road, Lady Lake (behind Home Depot).  Please call 352-753-8484 before you leave home to make sure the church is open.


During the pandemic, many people are emptying their closets or garages and want to find a new home for their no-longer-needed items. While we appreciate your thinking of SoZo Kids, Pastor Dave does not have the volunteer staff nor the space to handle used items. When you drop off used items in our bin, we either try to find another nonprofit that can use them, or -- if no home can be found for the items -- they wind up in a dumpster. That is such a shame. 


PLEASE donate your still-usable closet and garage items to a deserving charity that is set up to handle such things.


Sometimes SoZo Kids can use working kitchen appliances or washer/dryers (not furniture). To inquire about these larger items, call 770-550-4184. Thank you.

Here is what we can and cannot use:


  • New children's clothing

  • New children's toys

  • FULL-size toiletries (e.g., shampoo, deodorant, feminine products, toothpaste, etc.)

  • New linens

  • New school supplies

  • New art supplies

  • Checks written to "Friends of SoZo Kids Inc." (leave these at the church office)


  • New or used adult clothing of any kind

  • Used children's clothing 

  • Used shoes (adult or children)

  • Used children's toys

  • Used linens, cookware, or other household items

  • Knick knacks or other such stuff

  • Pastor Dave says that at the moment, they do not need any more hats or scarves, either. Apparently, a lot of knitters and crocheters have been especially busy during the pandemic!

Before making a trip to drop things off, give NLPC a call at 352-753-8484. To inquire about donating working appliances (e.g., refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer -- not furniture), please call 770-550-4184. Thanks so much!

NOTE: Because of Tropical Storm Eta, two of our driveway parties needed to be rescheduled. Below are the new dates for the first two events.


You heard our call to create your own fundraisers for SoZo Kids, and you've come through in a BIG way! Not only can you enjoy an evening of great music, but you can also contribute toward making the holidays a bit brighter for Kids in the Forest. Mark your calendars and plan to attend at least one of these driveway parties:

  • Nov. 15, 5-6 p.m., 3665 Fir St., Village of Dunedin, Mark Steven Schmidt (teenage or children’s gifts; cash or checks to “Friends of SoZo Kids”; tips for the artist)

  • Nov. 17, 4 p.m., 1606 Travelers Rest Ct., Village of Mallory Square, Villages Pops Folk Quartet (cash or check donations to “Friends of SoZo Kids”)


  • Dec. 7, 4 p.m., Little River Path, Village of Mallory Square, Villages Pops Folk Quartet (cash or check donations to “Friends of SoZo Kids”)


  • Dec. 12, 4 p.m., 1871 Upland Place, Village of Pennecamp, Villages Pops Folk Quartet (cash or check donations to “Friends of SoZo Kids”)

© 2020 by Friends of SoZo Kids Inc.