Community Update

To have your event included on Community Update, please send all relevant information to:
Sue Wagner
Community Update
P.O. Box 118405
Gainesville, FL 32611-8405
The e-mail address is, with the words
“Community Update” in the subject line.

Community Update and Public Service Announcements are
available to non-profit organizations only.

All submissions must be received TWO weeks prior to the event.

Please include only the basic facts:
who, what, where, when and why and a phone number or website address for more information.

Events will be included in this online listing and if time permits they will be featured in on-air public service announcements.

Nature Coast Community Foundation (NCCSF) Bicycle Collection
Hernando County

Nature Coast Community Foundation (NCCSF) and Grace Presbyterian Bicycle Ministry is collecting unwanted bicycles (or parts thereof) that will be reconditioned and given to the needy. Call 352-600-9555 to schedule a free pick up.

Buy a Pumpkin Feed a Child Pumpkin Patch
Sept. 29 – Oct. 31
Mon-Sat: 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun: Noon to 8 p.m.
7003 NW 39th Avenue

To feed hungry children within our community and abroad. To ensure no child has to go to sleep with an empty stomach. To combat undernourishment and disease brought on by a lack of food and essential protein, vitamins, and nutrients. More information at or (352) 363-1815. Website:

Operation Greenlight
Oct. 14-19
Citrus County Courthouse
110 N. Apopka Avenue

The Citrus County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller is participating in a statewide event with other Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers called Operation Greenlight. This is your chance to get your license back and save on fees for overdue traffic tickets and court fees. There will be extended phone house on Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. More information at

Florida Center for the Blind 6th Annual Dining in the Dark
Oct. 18, 6p.m.
The Hilton of Ocala

This unique event will include a cocktail hour, entertainment, a delicious dinner served in total darkness, and opportunities to give towards the mission of the Florida Center for the Blind. The money raised from the event will fund the Florida Center for the Blind’s programs and services that support individuals with visual impairments and their loved ones in North Central Florida. Guests are entertained as they attempt to enjoy dinner with their table mates without the ability to see what is in front of them. The menu is top secret and guests enjoy discovering, by taste and texture, what type of food they are eating. Many attendees realize how difficult even simple tasks become without sight. More information and tickets available online at or at (352) 873-4700.

Fall Pumpkin Tasting
Oct. 19, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Working Food, 219 NW 10th Avenue

Enjoy creations from local businesses who will create scrumptious goodies with local pumpkin varieties. Ttaste pumpkin infused coffee drinks, pumpkin filled pastries and baked goods, savory pumpkin items, and more! All proceeds benefit our programs, helping grow a local food community from seed to plate. More information at or 352-260-4458.

Historic Hernando Days Festival and Cracker Florida Drive
Oct. 18-19
Historic Hernando Heritage Council, 2415 S. Florida Avenue

See working cowboys, working horses, cattle dogs and Florida Cracker Cattle. More information available at 352-726-8080.

Sunday Assembly Gainesville
Oct. 20, 11 a.m.
Santa Fe downtown campus, 530 W. University Ave. (CIED Building)

Sunday Assembly, a secular community, will host Dr. Ron Nutter, former Associate Dean of the Division of Continuing Education and director of Professional Education in the UF College of Architecture. He developed the first UF online degree program and since 1978 he has been an amateur candy maker. The title of his talk will be: “Remarks From a Local Chocolatier”. Music will be provided and there will be discussion and fellowship. Families are welcome. Everyone is invited to stay for the potluck lunch following the gathering. More information available at

2019 Fall Parade of Homes
October 19-20; 12 to 5 p.m. each day

The Parade showcases the latest in home design and décor with the most up-to-date energy saving construction techniques and the newest in land development. Each Parade Home is a collective effort of numerous people who combine their talents and resources to show the public the newest ideas in the housing industry. Builders, developers, subcontractors, lenders, suppliers, designers, and many others have put their best foot forward to present the best our industry has to offer. The Parade Map will be available at Admission is free. More information at or (352) 372-5649.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day 2019
Clinic Open House
Oct. 24, 5 to 7 p.m.
Academy for Five Elements Acupuncture Clinic
315 SE 2nd Avenue

Learn more about Five Element acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and nutrition in Chinese medicine.See live demonstrations of moxa treatments, auricular acupuncture, cupping and gua sha. Try Chinese herbal formulas and tour an herbal medicine dispensary. Call 352.335.2332 or email for questions or to RSVP. No fee for entry and free parking available.

Women’s Giving Circle Women’s Symposium
Oct. 25, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Hotel Indigo in Celebration Pointe

The organization will host a workshop offering local women the opportunity to network, learn and grow at philanthropists and leaders. The speakers will each focus on one word of the “Lead, Learn. Give” motto. Speakers include UF College of Journalism and Communications Dean Diane McFarlin, Dr. Nancy Hardt, former professor in the UF College of Medicine and Kathy LeMay, global activist and professional fundraiser.More information available at

Annual 1890 Arts Crafts and Antiques Festival
Oct. 26, 8 a.m .to 4 p.m.
Van Ness Park
The festival features vendors, booths by community organizations and music. Proceeds benefit a college scholarship fund, and the McIntosh area charter school. Information at

2019 Fall Pond Workshop
Oct. 26, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
UF Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences
7922 NW 71st Street

This program is being offered by Dr. Kevin Korus, Agriculture & Natural Resources Agent, and will cover fish pond management, fish health, water quality testing, and aquatic weed management. More information available at 352-955-2402 or

Molecular Mania
Oct. 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oaks Mall near Belk Department Store

The annual UF Chemistry Department event will feature faculty and staff performing science experiments for children to help get kids interested in science. More information at

25th Annual Boo at the Zoo
Oct. 31; 3-7 p.m.
Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo.

The students and staff transform the zoo into a spooky but safe trick or treating event for the whole family. More information available at or 352-395-5633.

Trick or Treat Fun Night
Oct. 31, 6 to 8 p.m.
Hawthorne Recreation Park
6000 SE 205th Street

The Hawthorne Area Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual fun night featuring games, food, bounce houses, candy, hay rides and more. There will also be a Chamber of Horrors on Oct. 25 and 26 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Information available at 352-363-5125 or

NAMI Walks 5K
Nov. 2; 8 a.m. to noon
Westwood Middle School

NAMI Gainesville will host the annual NAMI Walks 5K for mental health and suicide prevention awareness on Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be community organizations tabling, food trucks, live music, and special speakers before the 5K walk. Registration is free. Registration and event information at

9th Annual Women United Holiday Luncheon
Nov. 12, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The Village of Gainesville Tower Club Ballroom
8000 NW 27th Boulevard

Learn how the United Way of North Central Florida’s ReadingPals program is changing the lives of children in our community. The event features lunch and local vendors with items for holiday gifts. A portion of the proceeds will benefit ReadingPals. More information available at 352-333-0846 or via email at

Fix Them All Fundraiser for Pay to Spay
Dec. 7, 11 a.m .t 4 p.m.
Gainesville Garden Club

Pay to Spay’s mission is fund spay/neuter surgeries for pet owners that cannot afford it. Their goal is to greatly reduce, if not eliminate, euthanasia of healthy animals as population control. The “Fix Them All” fundraising event will be a champagne brunch with a glass of champagne and served food, raffles, silent auction, “pup up” gift shop, vendors, giveaways, kids activities and more. More information and tickets available at

Craft Festival
Dec. 7-8, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Stephen C. O’Connell Center, 250 Gale Lemerand Drive

The Craft Festival is an annual event that showcases crafts that are authentically made by hundreds of talented artisans and crafters. More information at and

WhyHunger Hotline

Need help finding healthy, free food in your community? Call the WhyHunger Hotline at 1-800-5-HUNGRY to be connected to food assistance in your neighborhood. You can also text your zip code to 1-800-548-6479 to get a list to your phone and search online at

Relax & Color
Every other Wednesday; 10:30 11: 30 a.m.
Interlachen Public Library

Enjoy and adult coloring group in the Interlachen Public Library at 133 N CR 315. More information available at 386-684-1600.

Brain and Spinal Tumor Support Group
3rd Wednesday of each month
Health Street

The UF Health Neuro-Oncology Division of Neurosurgery has started a support group for brain and spinal tumors. More information available from Sarah Andrews at or at 352-27-7981.

Old Computers Needed
Unitarian Universalist Church in the Pines
Weeki Wachee

The church is collecting computers for the homeless. Any make or mode with a windows platform is welcome. More information available at 352-600-9555.

UF Psychology Decision-Making Study
UF Clinical and Health Psychology

This study will examine how mood impacts brain functioning during a decision-making task. People ages 60 to 80 may be eligible to participate. More information at 352-294-9765.

Be the Hope A Child Needs, Become a Foster Parent
Partnership for Strong Families
North Central Florida

North Central Florida has an urgent need for foster care parents. If you would like to become a partner family to help a child or teenager call 352-244-1684 or find details online at,

Books & Toiletries Needed for Homeless People
Unitarian Universalist Church in the Pines
Weeki Wachee

The church is collecting books and toiletries for People Helping People.The PHP book drive will provide books offering information on marketable skills and possible work opportunities. ‘How to’ and text books on subjects such as cooking, culinary sciences, computer/office skills, sales, and gardening/landscaping are especially appreciated. Toiletry items needed include: tooth brushes, razors, combs, soap, lotions, shave creams etc. Call 352-600-9555 for information or to schedule your donation.

Gainesville Peer Respite

Gainesville Peer Respite is launching “Warmline” for peers in need of emotional support. The phone line will be open Wednesday night through Monday mornings from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The number is 352-559-4559. The phone line is staffed by those who have had their own experiences of trauma and mental illness.

Pain Research & Intervention Center of Excellence

The Uf Center studies pain and aging, chronic pain risk factors, pain and the brain, musculoskeletal pain, pain and exercise and non-medical treatment of pain. More information available at 352-273-5967 or

Borgen Project Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

Over the past 20-years, the number of people who are malnourished has been reduced by 50 percent… And more children are in school today than at any time period in history. Global poverty can seem daunting, but success in alleviating suffering is occurring across the globe. To learn how you can volunteer at The Borgen Project and take action locally to help our global community, visit

Free Yoga at Healthstreet
Monday, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
2401 SW Archer Road

Free stress relieving classes will be taught by Janke. More information available on this and other programs at 352-294-4880.

Cowling on Cancer:
Patients and Families share their stories

On his blog Here’s a Story Just for You at, Florida author and actor Jerry Cowling has posted his experiences and feelings during his late wife Janet’s battle against breast cancer. He also tells of his journey through his grief process after her death. Now Cowling has opened his Cancer Chronicles to contributions from cancer patients and family members to share their own stories. Each contribution should be no more than three or four paragraphs. He encourages multiple submissions on the various aspects of the cancer experience. Send submissions to Cancer Chronicles posts are made on Wednesdays.

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

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.