2021 SRQ Magazine Best of SRQ Local Readers Competition Special Feature

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Susan Defoe (on Nate’s Honor): My husband and I have volunteered with Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue for 11 years now. This organization gets better every year, particularly this year while we are going through a huge re-building. Nate’s not only tries to find homes for the cute, adoptable dogs but also takes in the old and ones with health challenges. They address the health problems the animals have prior to trying to find them new homes. They truly care about the animals. David Gradl (on Nate’s Honor): My wife and I have been fostering kittens with Honor for eight years now, and honestly, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. We work very diligently to raise the kittens to be the happiest, loving, and well-behaved kittens they can be so that you can’t resist falling in love with them. It must be working. We have adopted four kittens ourselves. Honor FurEver. Elaine Ganick (on Florida Cancer): Cancer patients and their families, through no fault of their own, often suffer worry and stress over how to pay their everyday bills because cancer treatment may have caused them

together, and the agency is very well-rounded. The parents understand that, no matter what, Children First will always be there. Lynn Schultz (on Meals on Wheels): 700 meals a day delivered in SRQ. How amazing is that? Lots of community volunteers help daily to those in need. Platinum Winner- Nate’s Honor Animal Resuce / Gold Winner- Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation / Silver Winner- Children First / Bronze Winner- Meal on Wheels Plus of Manatee


Continually a feel-good category to get behind, voters barked loud and proud for their favorite Animal Nonprofit, with a stream of votes coming in for multi-year winner NATE’S HONOR ANIMAL RESCUE to raise its paws for Platinum. Though, the HUMANE SOCIETY OF SARASOTA gave them a run for their bones, tailing in Gold. BIG CAT HABITAT GULF COAST SANCTUARY found a home as a Silver winner while veteran to the competition, CAT DEPOT, tallies their treats to Bronze. -BM

Captain’s life was cut short due to osteosarcoma, but HSSC remained by our side through that process as well. HSSC paid for Captain’s palliative care medications to ensure that he was pain-free and comfortable for his last moments here with us. We are forever grateful to HSSC. We wouldn’t have been able to become such great new moms and handle the loss of our boy without their support. Ron Waldron (on Big Cat Habitat): Great cause for animals, children, families and free admission for veterans all year. Casey Easton (on Cat Depot): They saved my kitty’s life. They gave me an incredible discount as I was quite young and we worked it out, and now he’s better than ever. Mary Bowen (on Cat Depot): I have adopted two cats from the Cat Depot. They are very careful about who is allowed to adopt. I love how they truly care about all the kitties in the world. Platinum Winner- Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue / Gold Winner- Humane Society of Sarasota County / Silver Winner-Big Cat Habitat Gulf Coast Sanctuary / Bronze Winner- Cat Depot


Our community is fortunate to have a robust number of nonprofits serving as home to passionate advocates and defenders of our children and youth. CHILDREN FIRST, with its Head Start and Early Head Start programming, climbed above the rest to win Platinum in the category this year. But much love flowed from readers to the social service professionals at MANATEE CHILDREN’S SERVICES INC./MCS CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER, the Gold winner. TWIG CARES perched at Silver place while the BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF SARASOTA COUNTY came in at Bronze. Honorable Mention wins go to Girls Inc. of Sarasota, Child Protection Center, All Star Children Foundation, Easterseals of SWFL, Mothers Helping Mothers and Hope 4 Communities. -JO

to not be able to work or even lose their job. The FCS Foundation helps ease the burden of cancer by paying for non-medical living expenses, such as rent or mortgage, car payments and utilities. To my knowledge, there is no other nonprofit that is meeting this type of need. Evan Ackerman (on Children First): Children First strengthens children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being. At 15 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families to prepare them for success in Kindergarten and beyond. Katherine Martucci (on Children First): As a classroom volunteer, I have seen firsthand the devotion and love that the teachers and staff have for every child. Everyone is so focused on the mission of strengthening the children and families 78 | srq magazine_ APR21 live local


Mia Valentino (on Nate’s Honor): They take dogs and cats from kill shelters and find them good homes. They also take care of their animals, give them food and take them on walks. I got a dog from Nate’s and volunteered there, so I know how good they take care of their animals. It is so nice to see them bring animals back from a bad environment. It’s also very uplifting to see kids and volunteers helping out. Katie Scholtz (on Humane Society): We adopted our loving boy, Captain, from the shelter six months ago. Under HSSC’s care, Captain received x-rays to explain his missing eye and multiple scars. Even though the radiographs revealed major abuse from his past, HSSC made Captain feel comfortable, safe and loved during his time at the shelter. So much so that you would think he had the happiest life one could have. Upon adoption, HSSC always stayed in touch; they even convinced Genevieve and me to create a social media page so they could be up to date with Captain’s new and happy life. Unfortunately,

June Marie Braithwaite (on Children First): Not only do they have many head start programs for children from low-income families, but they also offer a financial budgeting class for the parents of these children. One year I was proud to be one of the mentors in this program, and it was very rewarding. Bailee Brandt (on Children First): Children First is not just a childcare program but a family care program. They are dedicated to their mission and support all dreams, big and small. Debbie Crissman (on MCS Child Advcocay): Manatee Children’s Services represents and cares for children who have no voice of their own and no one else to help. The people who work for them are quite obviously passionate about the cause and providing the best possible care for the kids. Bobbie Price (on Twig): The Twig strives to make foster kids feel special and cared for by providing them unique shopping experiences appealing especially to them. A great service to the foster parent as well. Platinum Winner- Children First / Gold Winner- Manatee Children’s Services Inc./MSC Child Advocacy Center / Silver Winner- Twig Cares / Bronze Winner- Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Desoto Counties.

ABOVE: Philip Tavill of Children First done up as the star from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – one of the popular series watched on Netflix when beach days to Siesta Key and nights out to State Street Eating House + Cocktails were sanctioned.

3/17/21 12:49 PM