Lieutenant Joel Perez from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is shown here as he is escorted by a camper to the end of the week graduation ceremony.

You can help support the mission of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches in a big way during the month of February. All you have to do is purchase a reusable shopping bag from the Winn-Dixie located at 4445 Sun City Center Blvd. in Sun City Center.

The Winn-Dixie Community Bag program was launched in February 2019. It utilizes the sale of reusable shopping bags to facilitate community support with the goal of making a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work.

Under this program, during the month of February, the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch will receive a $1 donation for every bag that is purchased unless the shopper directs otherwise through the Giving Tag attached to the bag.

The Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches is a nonprofit organization established by the Florida Sheriffs Association in 1957. The mission of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches is to prevent delinquency and develop lawful, resilient and productive citizens. The Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches has been improving the lives of at-risk children through its six Florida locations and comprehensive programs. The Sheriffs Youth Ranches is credited with helping more than 159,000 children and families in Florida.

The Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches operates four residential childcare campuses and two youth camps. In addition, it provides community-based programs to many of Florida’s neglected and troubled children. This year, the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches expects to serve over 6,000 boys and girls. Wayne Witczak is the director of development for the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches.

Witczak said, “We are honored to have been selected by the Sun City Center Winn-Dixie. We have many donors residing within the area, and this is another way they can give to the children in our care.” Witczak added, “It takes $5 a day to feed one of over 100 children in our residential programs. The funds collected will help provide meals for these deserving boys and girls.”

Witczak stated, “Voluntary contributions are the primary source of funding, especially thoughtful gifts made through special bequests in wills and trusts.”

The Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, Inc. is nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation and the American Camp Association. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, please visit www.youthranches.org. For more information on the Winn-Dixie Community Bag program, please visit www.seg.bags4mycause.com.