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The Villages
Saturday, December 9, 2023

Wildwood police seek help from community for holiday food drive

The Wildwood Police Department has planned its second annual Thanksgiving food drive, which will kick off this Monday and run through Nov. 1.

The department, located at 3939 County Road 462 East in Wildwood, will be accepting drop-offs of canned foods and nonperishable items as well as cash and check donations from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the upcoming months. Anyone interested in sponsoring the drive is asked to contact Officer Crystal Acevedo or Crime Scene Investigator Jessica Farley.

In addition, Sumter County families in need of a Thanksgiving Meal Box can register by emailing Acevedo at acevedo@wildwood-fl.gov or calling (352) 931-1866. You will be provided with a meal ticket along with the time, date and place for pickup.

Last year, Acevedo and Farley worked hard and were able to help 80 families who needed a Thanksgiving meal in Wildwood’s jurisdiction. The department was thankful for all the donations from everyone in the community, including local businesses like Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria, The Willows, Trinity Springs, Square 1 Burgers, The Carriage House, American House, and Wildwood Middle/High School.

The department will be doing the same this year by working with some local churches and businesses in the area. These include Mercy Pointe Church, The Willows, Roberto’s Ristorante & Pizzeria, A Banyan Residence, Caring Hands, Select Specialty Hospital, First Baptist Church, Dragon Sisters from The Villages, American House, Trinity Springs, Inspiritás, Honey Baked Ham (Lady Lake) and Harbor Chase.

Acevedo said the event is something the department will be doing every year to help families in the Wildwood area who are going through hard times.

“We will continue to partner with our local businesses and churches in our area to help as many families as possible,” said Acevedo.

She also acknowledged that many people have opinions about what the department does and that they are entitled to feel or say what they want, but it will not stop the Wildwood Police Department from serving its local community.

Times are tough, Acevedo said, and the cost of living has increased for everyone. She asked those in the community to remember there are families making minimum wage and working two jobs to make ends meet, but sometimes it is still not enough to cover everything. Trying to make ends meet whether they have kids or not is hard, and the department wants to help when it can to lighten the load for those families when the holidays come around.

Wildwood PD has been working hard to get more involved in the community and help out when it can, said Acevedo. Grants, donations and community members sponsor the department’s programs. The Donate A Phone Program, or D.A.P.P., is one such program. The department has been collecting portable electronic devices for victims of human sex trafficking and domestic violence since February.

“Helping and giving back is a passion of mine, and those who I work with know I try my best to go above and beyond what I do to make things happen when I can,” said Acevedo. “Wildwood Police Department will continue to do our best.”

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