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Bunny Waddell is as energized as the proverbial pink creature who touts batteries in commercials. She has just finished her month of wearing the “Bella Diamante” diamond necklace, a beautiful piece appraised at $21,500. Bunny is one of 12 women participating in the Diamond Endowment project, raising funds and awareness for Lake Cares Food Pantry.

At a gathering at O’Keefe’s restaurant in Tavares she is sharing her story with others in the group before passing the necklace forward to the next participant. “I didn’t anticipate the feelings I would have for the necklace,” says Bunny. “Giving it up is difficult but thinking about all the good it is doing makes it much easier.”

Bunny is no stranger to stepping up for those in need and volunteering. “Growing up, the people who were important in my life were involved in service to others. It always seemed important to me to follow in their footsteps and give back to others.
“But this project is so unique! What an amazing way to showcase the mission of Lake Cares and the wonderful work the agency does in our community.”

She explained that the need in Lake Country is greater than most people realize. Lake Cares fed more than 30,000 people of whom more than 70 percent were senior citizens or disabled. “This speaks loudly to the important role plays in our area.”

Still surprised by her attachment to the necklace, she describes her monthlong Diamond Endowment experience as “absolute fun and enlightening.” “Wearing the necklace, telling the story of how the project was conceived, simply seeing the smiles on people’s faces as I spread the word about the scope of the fundraiser made me feel like a special ambassador for Lake Cares,” says Bunny. “Along the way I learned that you can work positive things into any conversation and that there is always an opportunity to share.”

Volunteering takes on many forms. Sometimes it’s heavy lifting, sometimes it’s lifting others, and sometimes it’s simply lifting the expectations of the community so that organizations such as Lake Cares can meet their goals.

The Diamond Endowment project and the county-wide travels of “Bella Diamante” will culminate March 30, 2019, at the Lake Cares 10-Year Anniversary Gala at Lake Receptions.

“I will miss Bella,” says Bunny. “But am delighted that she will meet so many new people and be part of telling the Lake Cares story. Each of the recipients will have a new story to tell and I can hardly wait to hear all about their experiences.”