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Dawn was part of the Mount Dora book club that brought the 2008 best-selling book “The Necklace” to the attention of Lake Cares Executive Board. The story by Cheryl Jarvis chronicles how a jewelry-sharing journey changed the lives of 13 women.
For the local spin, 12 women – including Dawn -- stepped up to participate in a fundraiser inspired by the book.

Each woman wore the necklace, dubbed “Bella Diamante,” for one month raising funds and awareness for Lake Cares Food Pantry throughout Lake County. The pantry is selling 1,000 raffle ticket at $50 per ticket. March 30 at the 10th Anniversary Gala at Lake Receptions in Mount Dora the raffle winner will take home the show-stopping custom necklace appraised at more than $20,000. Second prize is $5,000 and third prize is $2,500.

Prior to moving to Mount Dora, Dawn was active in her community in Connecticut working in area schools, was a Girl Scout leader, volunteered on various town committees, and worked in free clinics as a nurse. “Lake Cares Food Pantry is the heart of this community,” says Dawn “The organization not only provides food for those in need, but it also connects clients with other health and human service agencies. “In addition, the Pantry has become a place for residents to volunteer and meet others. No experience is necessary. Just a warm friendly, smile and a strong back.”

This type of involvement elevates all of Lake County and illuminates the core character of residents who see giving back as a necessary part of being responsible citizens. Lake Cares Food Pantry is the major source for food distribution in the region and works with Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida to fill in gaps in services that can easily go unnoticed.

“The number of organizations and people that Lake Cares touches is amazing,” says Dawn. “This was a project I had to see through.” Her star moment with “Bella” came at a condo Oscar-watching party. Her bling stood up to the red-carpet parade of actors adorned with designer dresses and jewelry. And at the end of the night, Dawn knew her moment in the spotlight did much more than dazzle. Her work on the “Diamond Endowment Project” meant better days for so many Lake County residents.