Businesses give back to the local community

Patchington assistant manager Angela Ferrigno, left, and manager Candie Patterson, right, pose together during one of the fashion shows the store hosts to benefit different charities.

Many businesses in the area are working in some way to give back to the community.

Patchington for several years has been putting on fashion shows that raise money for multiple local organizations. The clothing store recently hosted one and has several lined up for later in the year. Hungry Howie’s raised money for the Rotary Club of The Villages-Evening and Publix has been donating money to food banks in the southeast area of the country to help feed America.

Patchington, located in Spanish Springs, has been putting on several fashion shows throughout each year benefiting organizations such as the Wildwood Soup Kitchen and Mary Kay Foundation.

The store recently put on a charity fashion show at the end of August to benefit the Wildwood Soup Kitchen again.

About $215 was raised through tickets and other donations to go to the soup kitchen.

The store has more shows planned later in the year benefiting new organizations the store has never worked with.

Many organizations are hearing about the shows the store puts on and want to be a part of it.

“I love it,” said Candie Patterson, manager at Patchington. “Anything that we can do to help, especially right now.”

On Sept. 29, the store will host a fashion show at the Wildwood Community Center to benefit the organization Gals on the Go for the first time.

In October, the store is planning shows, one of which will raise money for local art scholarships. In November, the store is planning a show to benefit the Mary Kay Foundation.

 “I’m all about charities,” Patterson said. “If I can stay booked, I’m going to book as much as I can through the end of the year.”

Publix also is doing its part to give back to the community.

Earlier this year, Publix Charities donated $2 million to Feeding America food banks in the southeast area of the country to help provide food to those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since April, Publix also has delivered more than 11 million pounds of produce and 500,000 gallons of milk to Feeding America food banks.

Tuesday, the grocery store company announced that it was donating another $3 million.

“As a food retailer, the single greatest impact we can make is in alleviating food insecurity,” said Maria Brous, director of communications for Publix. “September being Hunger Action Month, we collaborate with our partners at Feeding America and other nonprofits to bring awareness to the issue of food insecurity.”

Local organizations that have benefitted include Leesburg Food Bank, Helping Hands Food Pantry and St. Vincent DePaul​ Catholic Church.

Hungry Howie’s Pizza in La Plaza Grande recently raised money for The Rotary Club of The Villages-Evening.

Before school began, staff donated about $500 to the club so the Rotary Club could buy school supplies to give to kids who need them.

It was the first time the Hungry Howie’s location made a contribution to the club.

“We want to give back to the community, especially with everything going on right now with the pandemic and the virus and the kids (and) everybody struggling,” said Debra Cullen, one of the owners of the Hungry Howie’s location. “We just figured we’d give back to the community.”

Staff writer Summer Jarro can be reached at 352-753-1119 ext. 5404 or