United Methodist Cooperative Ministries/Suncoast
Friday, January 30, 2015

It was a beautiful Florida morning when 220 volunteers gathered for the annual United Methodist Cooperative Ministries’ Walk for the Dream on March 9, 2013.  The Florida Botanical Gardens and Heritage Village in Largo were picture perfect for a stroll that raised over $17,000  in funds for UMCM’s programs for children and families.

Lee Anne Fernandez of Palm Harbor doubled her 2012 fundraising total to raise $1,333.00 and take the prize as the "Top Individual Fundraiser" for the second year in a row.  For her efforts, she was presented with a $250 gift certificate donated by BrightHouse Networks.  Lee Anne’s funds helped Palm Harbor United Methodist Church and the Shining Lights Exceptional Young Adult Fellowship to again win First Place for the “Most Funds Raised by a Team” at $3,293.  The group was treated to a picnic lunch by their director, Susan Grandy.

Anona United Methodist, Largo, won First Place for the “Team with the Most Official Walkers” with 44 members participating and came in second in the “Most Funds Raised” with $2,648.  Anona member Penny Overcast, a Pinellas County School teacher who has seen first-hand how hungry children are helped at her school by UMCM’s Pack-A-Sack 4 Kids program, was the second-place "Top Individual Fundraiser" with $447.

"Top Fundraising Duos" were Carolyn Smith and her aunt, Laura Lewis, Keystone UMC, Odessa, $1,070; Gayla and Gordon Harbolt, Emmanuel UMC, Bradenton, $1,000; and Dr. Julius David and Dr. Annie Doraisingh, East Lake UMC, Palm Harbor, $530.

To level the competitive field, awards were presented to groups for “Most Funds Raised Per Organization Size.” In the case of a church, this would be the average weekly attendance, or in the case of a business, the number of employees, etc. First place went to Friendship UMC, Clearwater, $1,225 and second place to Christ UMC, St. Petersburg, $1208.  Christ UMC brought their confirmation class and parents and the 28 participants also enjoyed a picnic after the Walk. In all, 17 walkers won over $2,000 in donated prizes and gift certificates for their efforts.  

UMCM was delighted to again have volunteers from Urban Young Life of Largo and the National Honor Society of Palm Harbor University High School.

Our dream is that all children will live in peace, have plentiful food and safe shelter, and get a good education:  Thank you to everyone who worked to help make that dream come true.