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The Villages

Friends of SoZo Kids seeking ‘Valentine Bundles’ for teens in Ocala National Forest

Friends of SoZo Kids Inc. is seeking donors to create Valentine Bundles of Love for Teens living in poverty in the Ocala National Forest.

The Bundles will consist of full-size (not hotel samples) toiletries, a reusable face mask and a bag of Valentine sweets.

“Toiletries might not seem like a big deal, but many of these kids do not have access to running water on a daily basis. So having deodorant, body spray and other nice-smelling products can allow the teens to attend school feeling a bit more confident about themselves,” said the event coordinator, Mindy Pappas, who lives in Del Webb Spruce Creek.

Each Valentine Bundle should contain deodorant, body spray, shampoo/conditioner, body wash, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, lip balm, a reusable cloth face mask and a bag of store-bought Valentine candy or cookies.

Items for girls should be placed in gift bags, while items for boys can be placed in decorated shoe boxes. The complete shopping list and drop-off instructions are available at

Those preferring to avoid shopping can donate $25 per Bundle at the Friends of SoZo Kids website “and we’ll do the shopping for you,” Pappas said. Donations are accepted online, or checks may be written to “Friends of SoZo Kids” and mailed to Pam DiPetrillo, treasurer, 3741 Barrel Loop, The Villages, FL 32163.

Bundles of Love should be dropped off between 10 a.m.–noon on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Compass Storage parking lot, located at 4477 E. County Road 466 in Oxford.

“We want to let these teenagers know they are loved and not forgotten,” said Linda Casey, who serves as president of the nonprofit that connects the time, talents and treasures of Villagers and others to support SoZo Kids programming. “There’s very little time between now and Valentine’s Day, so we’re hoping people will jump onboard and support this initiative,” added the Village of LaBelle South resident.

For more information, send an email to [email protected].

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