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Diane Grande’s experience with Lake Cares Food Pantry is hands-on as an advocate and contributor.

“The food pantry is so important to the families, seniors and the disabled clients it serves,” she says.  “I can’t imagine what it is like to not have enough food to put on the table.  It is incomprehensible to me.  Maybe we can’t feed the world, but we can surely help those in need in our own community.”

Diane is one of 12 women participating in the fundraiser that was inspired by the 2008 best-selling book “The Necklace,” which chronicled how a jewelry-sharing journey changed the lives of 13 women. Each woman wears the necklace, dubbed “Bella Diamante,” for one month raising funds and awareness throughout Lake County. The pantry is selling 1,000 raffle ticket at $50 per ticket. In the spring of 2019 at the 10th Anniversary Gala at Lake Receptions in Mount Dora the winner will take home the show-stopping necklace appraised at more than $20,000. Second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $2,500.

Her hope is that the necklace event brings more awareness to the pantry and that more people step up to volunteer and help the Lake Cares achieve its goals.
“My experience with the necklace endowment has been so much more then I would have hoped for,” says Diane. “The other 11 women -- most of whom I did not know before -- are such a great group of caring, giving women and I am truly honored to be a part of the group.”

No stranger to volunteering and fundraising, Diane knows how rewarding giving can be on any level. Whether it’s time or money, every gift counts toward making difference in the community.

“I felt like a million bucks every time I wore Bella,” she says. “But the necklace is more than a beautiful piece of jewelry. The money and awareness it will raise is greatly needed. I have been involved in other Lake Cares Food Pantry fundraising projects, but this is a BIG one.”

Her advice to the next participant: Let the necklace be the conversation starter about this unique fundraiser and all that Lake Cares has accomplished over the last 10 years.
For Diane and the other women, hope isn’t just an ethereal wish, it’s a belief in what can be accomplished with determination and dedication to a common cause.