“Angels come in all shapes and sizes and work in mysterious ways,” said Liz Brewer, Executive Director at the Brandon Foundation. Since 2006, the Brandon Foundation Angel Program has served families in the Greater Brandon community affected by a life threatening disease or catastrophic event. The “Angels” she refers to are volunteers who serve as Angel Teams who meet with families and help them in their greatest time of need.
When a family is approved to be in the program, an Angel Team is sent to their home to assess what their greatest needs are. Sometimes it is financial assistance, such as paying an electric or house payment. The Team Leaders give gift cards at the initial visit to help them with gas or food expenses, which can have a big impact on a family’s finances when having to miss work for treatments or to care for a loved one.
The program matches businesses and individuals in the community to meet practical needs such as plumbers, lawn or pool care services as well as delivering meals or connecting them with local charities for food or medical assistance. The Angel services also include helping them plan budgets or offering counseling to handle their grief and pain. Many times, families don’t know what they need as they are still in a state of shock, but trained volunteers can offer them reassurance and hope that they are not alone.
There is also a Junior Angels Program for middle and high school students, which prepares youth to be future community leaders. Jill Lansky, Junior Angel chair, arranges activities each month the students can volunteer for. “We’ve partnered with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to make Care Backpacks for the homeless and distributed at their homeless initiative event in January, volunteered to help families at the Gift of Hope in December, and made blankets for patients in the intensive care at Brandon Hospital. It’s a great way for our young people to learn about volunteerism at an early age,” said Lansky. Students receive community service hours to help them meet requirements for scholarships.
“The Foundation is ‘connecting’ people in need to people who want to help and it’s a beautiful thing” said Jodi Chadwell, Foundation President. Visit BrandonFoundation.org or call 689-6889.