Realtor® Deborah Miller: Helping Defeat Childhood Hunger
LAKELAND, Fla. – Deborah Miller, a 2022 National Association of Realtors® (NAR) Good Neighbor Honorable Mention Award winner and a Realtor with WebPro Realty in Lakeland, works with kidsPACK to provide food to 3,000 low-income children each week.
In 2005, Deborah Miller had a debilitating car accident. “I begged God to give me my life back and I made a commitment to do whatever I could for [people in my community] if he did. I had faith, and God did not let me down, so I started volunteering as soon as I could,” she says.
She immediately got involved with Lakeland Realtors® to raise money for kidsPACK when the non-profit organization was founded 11 years ago. And, according to a NAR article about Miller and her cause: “Soon, she was hooked. Miller deepened her kidsPACK activities, stepping up to donate food, raise funds and mobilize her community to help. She talks about the nonprofit and the community need it fulfills everywhere she goes. She even involves her real estate clients in her efforts.”
Miller notes, “I sometimes purchase food on their behalf as a closing gift.”
Now, Miller says she does whatever is required to help ensure children have the food they need. kidsPACK works with 80 schools in Polk County and provides two meals to 3,000 children weekly, to nourish them over the weekend. “Without this food, many of these kids would not eat over the weekend,” she says.
Fundraising wasn’t easy during COVID, when her usual events couldn’t be held. “We usually do a Gone Country event once a year with a silent auction,” she said.
However, due to the pandemic, they had to skip a year. Not only that, but supply chain issues, manufacturing shutdowns and school closures forced the non-profit to cease operations for a short time.
Miller could not let that stand. Her solution: Grace Giving for kidsPack Facebook group. In addition to allowing donors to drop food off, they could also use a specific Amazon link to purchase food and other products that would then be delivered to Miller’s home.
Miller would set up challenges to get people to donate. “We needed those little cups of Chef Boyardee for the elementary school kids. I figured most of them had and could reach a microwave, so I started a challenge,” Miller recalls. The challenge was to collect 4,000 cups. Within a few months, she had 17,000 donated. She continues to run challenges on the Facebook group to help kidsPACK and people do not disappoint. Whenever she is in need, people donate generously.
The Facebook group now has more than 847 members, hailing from nine states, four countries and 67 Florida cities. She uses the group to engage, encourage and express gratitude to all who help.
“You have to feed their bellies so they can feed their minds. If children are hungry in school, they can’t concentrate and they can’t learn,” she says. That’s why Miller promises she will continue to put maximum effort into collecting and distributing food.
“I will do whatever God puts into my heart,” she says. “God gave me my life back, and my vow to God is to help feed these children.”
If you are interested in joining the Grace Giving for kidsPack Facebook group to donate, go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/229580005070284.
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