Paula Stano, President of The Stano Foundation, is grateful for the support from The Salt Grotto in Valrico and Tea, Bowls & Dessert Café in Riverview for hosting donation drives for her foundation during September.

Supporting locals and shopping local are what makes the Brandon community great. Many of the residents in the community are local business owners as well and they believe strongly in supporting locals, but the support doesn’t stop at business; it also means supporting local nonprofits.

Isabella Rosal is the managing director and co-founder of Tea, Bowls and Desserts Café in Riverview and Sheila Rivera-Alba is the manager of The Salt Grotto in Valrico. Both women decided to do a donation drive for The Stano Foundation, which is a local military nonprofit that sends care packages to service members all over the world.

“As a veteran-owned business, we know how it is to be out there as we have lived overseas as a family and being as a service-member on sea duty,” Rosal said. “This is the least we can do to make our service members feel the support, if not, the company that they are not alone.”

Rivera-Alba wanted to do a donation drive for The Stano Foundation because she is a family member of a local veteran.

“As a family member of a veteran, I have always [loved] to support the military and military families,” Rivera-Alba said. “In our business we cater to many military families and helping this foundation is our way to say, ‘Thank You.’ The Stano Foundation is an amazing local organization and we are so happy to be a part in helping their cause.”

The Stano Foundation started in 2015 with the mission to support our Armed Forces and veterans through project based initiatives focused on enhancing their comfort and quality of life with a piece of home. Paula Stano is the president of The Stano Foundation and she is grateful for the support from Rosal and Rivera-Alba.

“It always makes my heart happy when a business wants to help,” Stano said. “We have so many amazing businesses who have stepped up to help with shipping expenses, item donations, donation drives and spaces for us to pack our care packages. We are very fortunate and very grateful for those who not only believe in our mission but find a way to help us ensure each request is fulfilled.”

The items The Stano Foundation gets the most requests for are microwaveable macaroni and cheese cups, men’s deodorant, protein powder, protein bars and cup-o-noodles. If you bring three or more of these items to The Salt Grotto during the month of September, Rivera-Alba will give you 15 percent off of your same-day product purchase or service at The Salt Grotto. The Salt Grotto promotion will end on Monday, September 30.

If you bring two of the items mentioned in this story to Tea, Bowls and Desserts Café in Riverview from Sunday-Monday, September 22-30, Rosal will give you a free classic tea drink. All the items collected at both businesses will be used for the care packages The Stano Foundation sends to service members during the upcoming holidays.

To learn more about The Stano Foundation or to make a donation, visit The Salt Grotto is located at 1026 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. Tea, Bowls and Desserts Café is located at 3840 US Hwy. 301 in Riverview.

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.