Friends and Neighbors

Donations help Food Pantry, Best Buddies


Special to The Miami Herald

When Miami-Dade Police Officer Duncan Kidson passed away at age 35 after a car accident in 2010, his family wanted to do something to remember him. They started the ODK Food Pantry at Bay Community Church.

This year, the giving project will have funds to distribute food to 320 families in zip codes 33157, 33189 and 33190 thanks to a recent $8,000 donation by Magic City Casino.

Also receiving assistance, with another $8,000 donation, is Best Buddies of Southwest Miami Senior High School. This program pairs public and private high school students with students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help break down the barriers that often exist between those with disabilities and those without.

Both donations were made possible with the $16,000 in loose change left behind in Magic City Casino slot machines by patrons in 2013. Each year funds are donated to deserving programs in this manner.

“This donation will allow us to purchase technological tools for our students and teachers including laptops and iPads. We are so appreciative for the help this lends us. Thank you, Magic City Casino,” said Celeste Sadler, a National Board Certified exceptional student education teacher at Southwest Miami Senior High School.

Scott Savin, chief operating officer of the casino, said, “We are happy to donate the small change left behind and to see the value it will bring to people in need.”

For more information and to get involved visit the ODK Food Pantry at and Best Buddies Florida at


It’s almost time to start thinking about summer camp enrollment. The Greater Miami Jewish Federation is now accepting applications for Jewish overnight camp scholarships. The assistance is for children between the ages of 8 and 17.

This is the 12th year the Federation has offered need-based scholarships to Miami-Dade County families. Camps are listed on the Foundation for Jewish Camp website at and assistance is limited to one session.

Applications are due no later than Jan. 31 and those submitted by the deadline will be given initial consideration. Applications received after the due date will be decided on an availability-of-funds basis.

An applicant must live in Miami-Dade County and demonstrate a financial need by submitting the family’s most recent income tax return and a letter of acceptance from the chosen camp.

The Annual Federation/United Jewish Appeal Campaign has allocated $100,000 every year since 2002 for camp funding. Last year, 170 need-based scholarships in Miami-Dade County were awarded.

The 2014 Camp Scholarship Application is online at For more information, write to


The top three winners of the 2013 Zoolens Photography Project were announced recently at a ceremony hosted by Mercantil Commercebank in Coral Gables. Middle school students are encouraged through the annual contest to photograph their favorite Zoo Miami animal.

The well-attended awards event celebrated 30 finalists and was emceed by Zoo Miami’s Ron Magill. Attendees included Miami-Dade County School Board Vice-Chair Dr. Lawrence Feldman and Zoo Miami Director Eric Stephens.

Gabriela Lopez of South Miami K-8 Center won first place and $2,000 for her photo titled, “Texture in Nature.”

Shea Ramos from Hammocks Middle School won second place and $1,500 for his entry titled, “Sluuurrrp!”

Amanda Esposito from Herbert Ammons Middle School won third place and $1,000 for her photo titled, “Happy Happy Hippo.”


Pioneer woman Isabelle Krome put Homestead and Redland on the map for horticulturists all over the world. As a young woman, she moved to Miami in 1910 and married a talented young Florida East Coast Railway construction engineer named William J. Krome.

They settled in Redland that year and while her husband was away completing the construction of the railway to Key West, Isabelle Krome took over management of the family’s grove of fruit trees.

More about her story and perseverance will be discussed at the next Bea Peskoe Lunchtime Lecture Series. The free program is scheduled for noon, Feb. 3 at the Woman’s Club of Homestead at 17905 SW 292 St.

The event will be presented by Katherine L. Fleming who has learned much about Isabelle Krome while working as a volunteer at the Historic Homestead Town Hall Museum. As an archivist, Fleming has been cataloging articles that Isabelle Krome found interesting and saved for posterity.

Hidden among the magazine and newspaper clippings Fleming found photographs, correspondence and other documents that give insight into Isabelle Krome’s interesting life.

Fleming has worked at universities, museums and historical societies for more than 20 years. She is a director of the Society of Florida Archivists and a member of the Society of American Archivists.

An optional simple lunch before the talk is available for $10 by calling 305-230-9185 by 2 p.m. Jan. 31. You may also bring your own brown bag lunch.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at

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