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There’s a new girl in town and she gets around. Eyes are rolling and tongues are wagging. Oh my. Oh my. Maribella is causing quite a stir. She owns every room she is in. She’s glam. She’s glitz. And she shines like a beacon of hope. Yes, hope.

Maribella is the second Diamond Endowment raffle item to benefit Lake Cares Food Pantry. “She” is a white gold necklace with a large pear-shaped pendant adorned with 28 carats of blue topaz, teal, blue and white diamonds. Custom designed by Gold in Art Jewelers of Mount Dora, Maribella has an estimated value of $21,500, and is set to be raffled off on April 2, 2020 with second prize being $5,000 and third prize $2,500.

It’s no surprise to many that Maribella is turning heads. “She” learned the ropes from “Bella Diamante,” another Gold in Art Jewelers beauty who popped onto the scene in 2017. That necklace was appraised at $21,500 and was raffled off at the Lake Cares 10th Anniversary Gala. Bella received such a positive response and helped to secure much-needed warehouse space. As a result, the organization’s Board of Directors decided to back the concept a second time.

The Diamond Endowment Raffle emulates the life-changing saga of 13 women who took turns sporting a necklace named “Jewelia” chronicled in the 2008 Cheryl Jarvis bestselling book “The Necklace: Thirteen Women and the Experiment that Changed their Lives.”

Lake Cares spun the idea into a fundraiser drafting 12 female leaders to each wear the exquisite jewelry for one-month. The necklace becomes a catalyst for discussion about Lake Cares ongoing work in the county to combat the region’s intensifying food insecurity crisis.

“The necklace is one of the most unique fundraisers we have participated in,” says Broker Jeannette Bokland of Spouses with Houses Realty. She is participating in Maribella’s yearlong tour along with her wife Linda. “The necklace is mesmerizing, and it invites so many conversations. What a great way to educate people about Lake Cares. As social as we are; it was a perfect activity for us to meet so many people!

“Lake Cares serves our most vulnerable. It is an honor to be a sponsor and participant.” The Boklands and the other “Women of Maribella,” gather regularly to share their experiences building excitement every month for the benefits she will reap. Representing Mount Dora, Eustis, Leesburg, Tavares, and Orlando, the rest of Maribella’s ambassadors are Holly Stratton Farley, Tina Morin, Erika Green, Kelsey Gonzalez, Edna Gonzalez, Theresa Elliott, Christina Williams Stewart, Donna Marini, Jodie McEwen, Cathy Hoechst, and Clara Schneider.

Tickets are $50 and only 1,000 will be sold. Tickets can be purchased online at LakeCares.org, or by calling 352-383-0100. All proceeds from the raffle will support Lake Cares Food Pantry’s hunger-fighting mission in the community.