Thursday , December 7 2023

Community Update

Gator Gatherings & Events

Country 103.7 The Gator is committed to staying involved in the Gainesville and Ocala communities, and we are proud to support some of our great local events and charities!

Submit an upcoming community or charity event by filling out the form below:

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    UF Medical Guild Grants
    Apply through June 30

    The UF Medical Guild special projects committee is now accepting financial grant applications for 2016. The Committee focuses on projects which relate to health care, benefit a large number of people in Gainesville and Alachua County, can be accomplished in one year, are not covered by operating budgets and do not include salaries, printing, copying or mailing costs. To request an email to

    Hope Floats Sidewalk Sale for JDRF
    June 3-5, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    The Fresh Market

    The 22nd annual sidewalk sale will benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research. Fresh Market stores will offer hot dogs, root beer floats and ice cream sundaes for a donation and 100 percent of the proceeds will do to JDRF.

    Food Share Program
    June 4, 9 a.m. 12 p.m.
    Santa Fe College

    Food will be distribute to those in need in the building O parking plot. Farm Share will be partnering with Abiding Faith Christian Church, Santa Fe College Center of Excellence and more to host a food distribution at Santa Fe College oin the building O parking lot. More info at

    World Sea Turtle Day Celebration
    June 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Florida Museum of Natural History

    Celebrate World Sea Turtle Day at the Museum with the Sea World Turtle Conservancy. Children and families are invited to tour the museum’s sea turtle exhibit which include specimens, a turtle library and stickers and bookmarks. Children can create crafts, meet sea turtle scientists and play turtle trivia. More information available at

    St. Johns Chapter of the Catholic Writers Guild Monthly Meeting
    June 11, 10 a.m.-noon
    Father Felix Varela Center

    The theme of the monthly meeting is “The Value of Getting and Giving Writing Critiques” and Dan Costello will serve as moderator. The event is open to aspiring writers, poets, composers and all interested artists. The Center (formerly the Cuban American Club) is located at 5110 Lourcey Road.

    Food Truck Rally Benefit for Five Points of Life
    June 11, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
    High Dive, 210 SE 2nd Avenue

    More than 10 food trucks will be on site for the benefit event that also includes live music. More information at

    Florida’s Endangered Orange: A Journey Through Time
    June 23, 6 p.m.
    Matheson Museum

    Dr William Zettler, retired UF professor of plant pathology and author of The Biohistory of Alachua County, Florida, will discuss the history and future of Florida Citrus, include the issue of Florida greening. The event is free and open to the public. More information available at 352-378-2280.

    Marion-Dunn Masonic Lodge #19 Public Open House
    July 8, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
    1846 SE 36th Avenue

    The public is invited to attend a short program on Freemasonry and the 167-year history of this Masonic Lodge. More information is available at 352-694-2461.

    St. Johns Chapter of the Catholic Writers Guild Monthly Meeting
    July 9, 10 a.m.-noon
    Father Felix Varela Center

    The theme of the monthly meeting is “Legal Issues in Writing” and Tony Kolenc will serve as moderator. The event is open to aspiring writers, poets, composers and all interested artists. The Center (formerly the Cuban American Club) is located at 5110 Lourcey Road.

    Chronic Pain Association

    Chronic pain is a pain that never goes away. If you have it, you know that often doctors and medicine can’t full help. The American Chronic Pain Association can teach you how through small group meetings. Learn to deal with your pain in a positive way. Call the Alachua County Chapter of the American Chronic Pain Association at 352/213-1600.

    Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory Needs Participants

    The Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology Laboratory at UF is conducting a research study on blood vessel health in individuals with type 2 diabetes and the effects of supervised exercise training. It is currently seeking study participants ages 30 to 79 with type 2 diabetes as well as healthy participants who do not exercise regularly.

    Alachua County Library District’s Adult Literacy Program Needs Volunteers

    Many adults struggle with reading. These individuals have keen compensation strategies, amazing memory skills and are highly intelligent. The program is seeking volunteers to work with these adults. There are various levels of time and service commitments. For more information, visit

    Tourism Institute Study Needs Participants

    The UF Eric Friedhelm Tourism Institute is looking for volunteers for a study measuring the impacts of online advertising on viewer’s attention, emotion, and memory using a mobile eye-tracker and an arousal sensor. To qualify you mus be between the ages of 18-60 years old and have normal vision or be able to wear contact lenses (no glasses). Participant will receive an Amazon gift card after completing the test. For more information contact Lauren at

    Ronald McDonald House Needs Volunteers

    The Ronald McDonald House in Gainesville serves 31 families, keeping them close to their sick children receiving critical medical care. The House is always full, and it’s single maintenance manager could use a little help. If you are handy and can spare two hours each week to help with routine maintenance tasks please contact Dorie Faulkner at 352-374-4404, extension 224.

    Mentors needed for Take Stock in Children Program
    The Education Foundation of Alachua County

    Take Stock in Children pairs good students who have the odds stacked against them with mentors who provide support, encouragement, and the guidance they need to succeed in school. Mentors will meet with their student once a week at a convenient time such as their lunch hour. More information available at or call 352-955-7242.

    Indoor Gardening Sessions for Cancer Patients
    Ongoing Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
    UF Wilmot Gardens Greenhouse

    The Gainesville Chapter of the Climb for Cancer Foundation is sponsoring weekly indoor gardening sessions for community members who have been or are being treated for any form of cancer. Free parking is available and individuals are welcome to bring a friend or caregiver. More information is available from Deborah at 352-294-5992.

    Hernando Youth Orchestra Rehearsals
    Ongoing Sundays from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
    Heather Community Center
    Weeki Wachee

    Children ages 5 to 21 can learn to play an instrument, and learn music theory and site reading. Sessions will be held at The Heather Community Center, 9100 Nakoma Way in Weeki Wachee. The event is free and open to the public. More information available at

    Citizens for an Engaged Electorate Meetings
    First Thursday of each month, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Citizens for an Engaged Electorate is a group of progressive individuals dedicated to building a functioning democratic republic. The meetings are open to the public and are held at Melanie’s Restaurant, 124 E. Noble Street in Williston. More information is available from Barbara Byran at 352-465-8461.

    Cooking Oil Recycling
    Alachua County Hazardous Waste Collection

    The Alachua County Hazardous Waste Collection Program will recycle used peanut, corn, canola or olive oil into biodiesel fuel. The biodiesel is combined with standard diesel and used to power County fleet vehicles and a biofuel electrical generator. Oil should be cool, and placed in a metal or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. The oil cannot mix will other fluids such as water, petroleum products or soaps. The collection center is located at 5125 NE 63rd Ave. in Gainesville. More information on hours or operation and other rural collection centers at 352-334-0440.

    Free English Classes
    Millhopper Branch Library

    Free adult English classes are available to newcomers to Alachua County. More information available at

    Written and Spoken Language Study
    UF Aphasia and Bilingualism Lab

    The Aphasia and Bilingualism lab is currently recruiting healthy adults age 50 to 80 for a study on written and spoken language. Participants should have English as a primary language and have normal or corrected vision and/or hearing. More information available at or 352-273-3715.

    UF Environmental Horticulture Gardening Study

    The University of Florida Environmental Horticulture Department is seeking healthy women between the ages of 30-45 without gardening experience. Volunteers will undergo an MRI and participate in gardening session over an eight week period. For more information contact Christy at 352-273-4576.

    AYA Needs Host Families for Students

    The Academic Year in America program matches students from more than 40 countries with an American host family for a semester or academic year. Families can choose their student and must provide room and board. More information available at or 352-237-3966.

    Alachua County Wage Recovery Ordinance

    The Alachua County Wage Recovery Ordinance began on January 1, 2014. The ordinance provides Alachua County employees a method for collecting unpaid or underpaid wages. For details on the ordinance or how to file a wage theft complaint call the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at (352) 374-5275.

    Institute for Workforce Innovation

    The Institute for Workforce Innovation (IWI) is dedicated to improving the communities’ quality of life through education, employment and advocacy. For more information or to volunteer call 352-225-3307 or online at

    Savvy Caregiver Training
    Elder Options
    100 NW 75th St., Suite 30

    Elder Options in conjunction with the State of Florida Department of Elder Affairs offers free six week training programs designed for family caregivers who assist persons with Alzheimer’s and or dementia. More information available at 352-378-6649.

    Operation PetSnip

    Spay and neuter pet services available for qualifying low-income Alachua County and surrounding rural county residents. The cost of surgery, pain medication and anesthesia for pets spayed or neutered is covered. More information available from No More Homeless Pets’ Operation Petsnip at

    The Salvation Army Thrift Store

    The Salvation Army thrift stores are funded by generous donations of material goods. The stores accept gently used merchandise to be refurbished and resold. The Gainesville store is located at 55 NW 23rd Ave. More information on hours of operation available at 352-373-7597 or

    Children’s Home Society Adoption Program

    There is a significant need to find adoptive homes for children in the foster care system. Currently there are many children wanting and wishing to find a home to call their own. More information available 352-334-0955.

    Gone 4 Ever Shredding
    The Arc of Alachua County is a local not for profit that provides employment services to adults with developmental disabilities through several small business it has created. One of its businesses, Gone 4 Ever shredding, offers a free paper shredding service to all residents of Alachua County every Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at its main location at 3303 NW 83rd Street. Gone 4 Ever shredding hold a AAA certification in document destruction so all paper is safely and securely destroyed. For more information please call 352-334-4060 ext. 132 or visit

    Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve- Supporting our Nation’s Service Members

    Today, nearly half our nation’s fighting forces are members of the Guard and Reserve. When they are called is called to active duty, they leave behind a family, a community, and a job. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, a Department of Defense agency, honors and products the bond between service members and their civilian employers. Whether serving our country or supporting those who do, we all serve. To learning more about ESGR, call 1-800-336-4590, or

    The Family Mealtime Project

    This spring research at the University of Florida will conduct a research study to learn about families and their interactions during mealtimes. The Family Mealtime Project is available to two-parent families who live within 20 miles of Gainesville and have a child between the ages of 2 and 6. The study consists of three, 45 minute sessions in families’ home in which families will complete questionnaires and two video recordings of their mealtimes. Families will be compensated at the completion of the study. Families interested in participating or who have questions should call the Family Mealtime Project office toll free at 1-866-673-9623.

    “Kidney Smart” Education Program

    The “Kidney Smart” program educates and partners with people to take control of their health and helps them develop a plan to live a healthy life. The program features medication, diet and nutrition information, stresses the importance of choosing a heath care team, provides continuing education and treatment options. More information available at

    Suwannee River Economic Council, Inc. Hosts Meal Site
    Open every Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    The Suwannee River Economic Council, Inc. hosts a meal site at the Bronson Community Church located on Hathaway Ave. in Bronson, FL. The meal site serves seniors age 60 or older. Meals are served at noon. There is no cost, but donations are welcomed. For more information, call 352-490-7055 x1.

    Ronald McDonald House Charities NCF Seeks Long-Term Volunteers

    Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, a non-profit organization in Gainesville that assists families with children being treated at local medical facilities, is looking for long-term volunteers to serve as hosts for its two core programs: Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Family Room at Shands Hospital for Children. For more information, visit or call Dorie Faulkner, Volunteer Coordinator at 352-374-4404 ext. 224.

    Visiting Chef Program, Ronald McDonald House

    Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, a non-profit organization in Gainesville that assists families with children being treated at local medical facilities, seeks volunteer groups or families to provide a full-course dinner or weekend-breakfast for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Gainesville. Chefs may come equipped with ingredients to serve approximately 50 people and cook in a spacious, well-stocked kitchen or they may cater a meal from a local restaurant. Meals are served 7 days a week, including holidays. For more information, contact Judy Bates at or call 352-374-4404 ext. 299.

    The Kindness Cookie Company

    In partnership with The Arc of Alachua County, the Kindness Cookie Company bakes homemade cookies with our messages of kindness, gratitude and inspiration inside. In the spirit of these messages, Kindness for Cookies also seeks to raise awareness of the unique gifts of individuals with developmental disabilities and how they can teach us to live with greater compassion, acceptance and presence. The Kindness Cookie Company can bake for any event, or custom orders and gifts. For more information, contact Susan Thiele, founder, at 352-256-8084 or email at, you can also visit the website at

    In the U.S., 19 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant—most of them for kidneys. has become the most successful nonprofit organization improving those odds by finding living altruistic donors for patients who desperately need transplants. Visit and meet some extraordinary people.

    Help a Kid Start a Lemonade Stand

    The National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., is urging parents to teach their children lessons about entrepreneurship and responsibility by helping them start a lemonade stand. They provide free classroom curriculum and other resources to enable students to learn first-hand about the risks and rewards of operating a small business. This curriculum can be found at To learn more about the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation, visit

    Red Carpet Customer Service Training Program

    This program, launched by FloridaWorks in partnership with Santa Fe College, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and Innovation Gainesville, has a goal of training 3,000 people in customer service. Each participant earns a certificate from Santa Fe College after completing the 3-hour course. To register, contact Santa Fe CIED at 352-395-5053. To become a community sponsor, contact the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce at 352-334-7100.

    Adoption from Foster Care

    There are currently more than 107,000 children available for adoption in the U.S. Foster Care System. The Adoption from Foster Care campaign encourages potential parents to adopt and aims to increase the number of potential families inquiring about adoption. You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.

    Veterans Outreach Program, Epilepsy Foundation

    The Epilepsy Foundation wants to help men and women who’ve suffered traumatic brain injuries or TBIs, which are a common form of injury that can lead to seizures and epilepsy in some cases. Symptoms can include confusion, momentary black-outs and uncontrollable shaking or twitching. For more information about the foundation’s Veterans Outreach Program and other services, visit or call 1-800-332-1000.

    Three Rivers Legal Services

    Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. is a local, non-profit corporation that provides free, quality civil legal services to low-income, eligible clients in seventeen counties throughout North Florida. Three Rivers is now providing representation to eligible clients who live in Alachua, Levy, Gilchrist, Bradford or Union County for family law cases, regardless of domestic violence. For more information, call the Legal Helpline at 866-256-8091.