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Community garden bears fruit for needy

Members of the Plant City Commons Community Garden recently donated two very large Calabazza squash to a church that feeds the area's needy. The squashes, weighing 32 and 46 pounds, were donated to First United Methodist Church of Plant City's Friday lunch program. The squashes grew from a plant that sprouted unexpectedly in one of the community garden's common beds, said Karen Elizabeth, one of the garden's founders. "It just grew up from our compost pile," Elizabeth said. "One of our gardeners works with the Friday lunch program and suggested we donate it. We all thought that was a great idea."
The community garden was established in September on land made available by St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 302 N. Carey St. The squash was among the garden's first harvest, Elizabeth said. 'Horse whisperer' bases training on Bible A minister who uses Christian principles to train an unbroken horse will show off his skills Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at a local church. Paul Daily of the Louisiana-based Wild Horse Ministries uses such biblical principles as trust, obedience and love as he "gentles" the horse. Within two hours, Daily, sometimes called a horse whisperer, is able to saddle and ride the horse. He will demonstrate his skills at a temporary corral at Lebanon Baptist Church, 110 N. Forbes Road. For information, call (813) 737-9350. Dinosaur World to host Lightning promotion Representatives of the Tampa Bay Lightning will make a promotional appearance from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Dinosaur World as part of the hockey franchise's Rolling Thunder Tour. The team mascot, Thunderbug, and the Lightning Girls cheer squad will appear at the free event. There also will be games, prizes and music. Park admission is not required to take part in the Lightning promotion. The park is at 5145 Harvey Tew Road, at the Interstate 4-Branch Forbes Road interchange in Plant City. Save the date for celebrity chef dinner An annual celebrity chef dinner will feature Whitney Miller, the first winner of Fox's "MasterChef" show in 2010. The annual fundraiser for the United Food Bank of Plant City will be Feb. 15 at the John R. Trinkle Center on Hillsborough Community College's local campus. Cocktails are at 7 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. The evening will include music, dancing and a food demonstration by Miller, author of the cookbook, "Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm." The organizers of the celebrity chef event promise lots of changes and fun including music by the DeLeon Band. The new name is "For the Love of Food." For details, call Gail Lyons at (813) 659-2165 or Christine Miller at (813) 757-9809. Girl Scouts now taking cookie orders Get your sweet tooth ready. Girl Scouts are taking advance orders through Jan. 27 for their annual cookie sale. Booth sales, when the scouts set up shop outside stores, begin Feb. 22. All the traditional favorites are back, including Do-Si-Dos, Dulce de Leche, Samoas, Tagalongs, Thank You Berry Munch, Thin Mints and Trefoils. Savannah Smiles, a flavor launched last year for the scouts' 100th anniversary celebration, returns for a second year. The cost is $3.50 per box. The cookie sales are the biggest fundraiser of the year for the scouting organization, said Jennifer Mederios, spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. The sale serves another important purpose, to nurture girls in such areas as money management, people skills and business ethics, she said. There are about 21,000 Girl Scouts, ages 5 to 17, in the eight-county West Central Florida region, she said. Sales run through March 17. Need help kicking an addiction? A Bartow-based ministry is starting a weekly faith-based class for those who need help with an addiction. The class will be 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays starting Tuesday at the Lorena Jaeb Rainbow House, 504 N. Palm Ave. The sponsor of the class, Leland Family Ministries, has similar programs around the region, said Debbie Ray, who will lead the Plant City class. "I feel there is a great need here. I saw first hand how it can transform someone's life," said Ray, who said she knows someone who kicked a habit after attending the classes in Dade City. Ray said the class will use religious faith to help people overcome such addictions as drugs, smoking, overeating and gambling. For information, call the ministry at (863) 519-0000. Canoes now available at Alderman's Ford Canoes are now available for rent at Alderman's Ford Regional Park off County Road 39. Four-hour rentals are offered at $25, not including a park entry fee, county spokeswoman Kemly Jiménez Green said. The park at 9625 Canoe Launch Loop, Lithia, is the seventh Hillsborough County park to offer canoe rentals. The park is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week during the winter months. The fee for canoe rentals must be paid in cash, check or travelers check. Those wishing to rent a canoe must be 18 years old, and complete a liability release and rental agreement form prior to payment at the entry station. Alderman's Ford may add kayak rentals at some point, Green said. For information, call (813) 757-3801. Grief workshop starts Tuesday Hope Lutheran Church will offer a free support group starting 6:30 p.m. Tuesday for those who are dealing with grief. The GriefShare sessions will include a video seminar and group discussion. The meetings are at the church, 2001 N. Park Road. For information, call Hope Lutheran Deaconess Lyn Senkarik at (813) 752-4622. Dave Nicholson
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