Plus, $12.9 million park donation.
 
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6 (huge) ways Publix impacts our community
a group of volunteers wearing Publix Serves shirts working outside
Publix Serves (happening April 21-27) is just one of many ways Publix is making a big impact in the community. | Photo provided by Publix
Giving is a Publix tradition rooted in a spirit of generosity imparted by company founder (and, of course, fellow Lakelander) George Jenkins.

What is now known as Publix Super Markets Charities started in 1966 as a foundation established by Jenkins to support the grocery store’s communities. Today, Publix donates millions of dollars to thousands of organizations and causes — and the impact is both immense and far reaching.

Here are six ways Publix supports the Lakeland community (and beyond).

Publix Serves

Fun fact: April 21-27 is Publix Serves Week — a twice-yearly event that activates 7,000+ Publix employees to better local communities through a week of volunteering. Projects include cleaning parks, planting trees, packaging food for the hungry + more.

Publix Super Markets Charities

Publix Super Markets Charities undertakes massive giving efforts by donating millions to local organizations. Focus areas include alleviating hunger, reducing homelessness, supporting youth and education programs, and helping nonprofits improve their communities.

Hunger alleviation

In addition to contributing more than $42 million to hunger-related programs since 2015, Publix’s Food Donation Program gives non-salable (but still edible) dairy, deli, meat, and produce to Feeding America food banks — giving the food insecure nutritious options and reducing food waste.

Water Stewardship

If we don’t protect the Everglades’ precious water ecosystem, who will? Publix supports the National Audubon Society, National Park Foundation, and Arbor Day Foundation to protect, conserve + restore the Everglades and other major Florida water resources.

United Way

In 2022 alone, Publix donated $52.1 million to United Way to help the organization support the efforts of community volunteers and agencies who positively impact neighbors in need — from delivering meals to seniors to helping those with physical and mental disabilities, and more.

Register Campaigns

Here’s where you come in. Throughout the year, Publix hosts Register Campaigns, where Lakelanders can donate to causes or organizations like the Special Olympics, Children’s Miracle Network + more. See the environmental programs you can support at the register during April’s Good Together Environmental campaign (coinciding with Publix Serves Week).
 
Asked
 
If you could volunteer anywhere, in which service area would you volunteer?

A. Food assistance
B. Education/youth programs
C. Senior aid or visitation
D. Environmental causes
E. Animal organizations
F. Other
 
 
Events
 
Tuesday, April 2
  • Busy Bees Sports Explorers | Tuesday, April 2 | 10-11 a.m. | Medulla Resource Center, 1049 Parker Rd., Lakeland | Free | Children ages six and younger will be introduced to different sports through short lessons + a scrimmage.
  • B-I-N-G-O | Tuesday, April 2 | 6:30-8 p.m. | The Joinery, 640 E. Main St., Lakeland | Free entry | Enjoy specials on craft brews, wine, house spirits, and classic drinks while you compete for five in a row.
Wednesday, April 3
  • Chair Yoga for Beginners | Wednesday, April 3 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | Simpson Park Community Center, 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Lakeland | Free | Take a seat for this flow designed to improve flexibility, balance, and range of motion.
  • Pickleball After Dark | Wednesday, April 3 | 11 p.m. | SUN KAVA, 5711 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland | Free entry | Head to this community hub for all-night pickleball, craft food, and deals on kava shells (plus karaoke).
Thursday, April 4
  • Worms at Work: Vermicomposting 101 | Thursday, April 4 | 10-11 a.m. | Mackay Gardens and Lakeside Preserve, 945 Mackay Blvd., Lake Alfred | Free | Learn the unique and easy method for using worms to compost in this engaging class.
  • Harrison School for the Arts Spring Piano Concert | Thursday, April 4 | 7-9 p.m. | Harrison School for the Arts, 750 Hollingsworth Rd., Lakeland | $9-$12 | Piano students will perform the works of famous composers in collaboration with students from the Orchestra Strings department.
Click here to have your event featured.
 
News Notes
 
Community
  • Infrastructure, downtown revitalization, and neighborhood connectivity were top of mind in the city commission’s Strategic Planning Retreat session last week. Officials shared their top priorities for the city before the commission’s upcoming Budget Retreat. (LkldNow)
Civic
  • City commissioners unanimously approved adding Juneteenth as a paid city holiday for Lakeland, beginning this year. This means that city offices will be closed on June 19 each year to commemorate the end of institutional slavery in the US.
Traffic
  • City officials met with FDOT representatives yesterday to discuss the state of transportation in Lakeland, including progress on the Dixieland road diet. FDOT emphasized using community partnerships with the city to complete the project — watch the replay.
Outdoors
  • The Holloway Park Foundation donated Holloway Park to the City of Lakeland yesterday, making it the largest land donation the city has ever received. The 379-acre park, valued at $12.9 million, will now be managed by the city’s Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts department.
Lakelander
  • Gene Conrad has led SUN ‘n FUN since 2022, bringing 12 years of experience at Lakeland Linder International Airport with him. Find out Conrad’s goals for the expo and what to expect at this year’s 50th anniversary event in his Q+A with The Ledger.
Development
  • The clubhouse at the former Wedgewood Golf & Country Club was destroyed in a fire this weekend. A cause has yet to be determined. The golf course’s land is still slated for 954 homes, and construction is set to begin this summer. (LkldNow)
Legacy
  • Tapatio’s Restaurant Mexicano announced that Jesus Vargas, owner of its South Florida Avenue location, died last week. The location Vargas owned is currently closed, but the Memorial Boulevard restaurant is open for regular hours.
Community
  • During Operation Green Light, the Polk County Clerk of Courts will waive collection fees on overdue court fines to reinstate driver’s licenses. Pay fees in person at the Clerk’s Lakeland branch (930 E. Parker St.) from Monday, April 15 to Friday, April 19.
Learn
  • Nominate yourself or another Polk County resident for Leadership Polk’s next class through Tuesday, April 30. Leadership Polk will teach members about countywide civic engagement — Class XVII will meet from August 2024 to May 2025.
Plan Ahead
  • Get ready to party at Bonnet Springs Park’s Caribbean Carnival on Saturday, April 13. This free event will include a Junkanoo Parade, live music by Jahfari Reggae Band + Music & The Mocko Jumby, Caribbean food, and performances from 5 to 9 p.m.
Concert
  • Southeastern University’s choral program will perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City next week. Support the students before their trip and get a preview of their performance by attending the Spring Choral Concert at First Presbyterian Church on Monday, April 8 at 7 p.m.
Travel
Edu
 
 
Biz
 
These entrepreneurs have perfect pitch
A group of five smiling people hold an oversized check and raise their arms in celebration. The check is for $35,000 from Catapult Lakeland and is written to five local businesses.
These five entrepreneurs successfully pitched their innovative businesses. | Photo by @catapultlkld
Last week, five local entrepreneurs pitched their businesses for up to $10,000 in micro-grant funding at Catapult Lakeland’s “Shark Tank”-style Launch Night.

All five entrepreneurs received funding for their businesses. Here’s how much each one took home:
  • Infinite Matterz | $10,000 for an improved powder coating system and polishing tumbler
  • Dual Drinks | $10,000 for manufacturing and tooling equipment
  • Taqueria del Angel | $2,500 for a new POS system and booth improvements
  • TNT Industries | $10,000 for a wider belt sander to improve their work capacity
  • Patch N Play | $2,500 for prototyping services and patenting
The next Launch Pitch Night is coming up this fall — follow along with Catapult to see when applications + RSVPs open.
 
The Buy
 
Pvolve’s signature equipment bundle — the low impact, clinically-backed exercise method is a great way to work out from home, and the bundle helps you get started. It comes with a month of free classes and includes (bonus) some of Jennifer Aniston’s favorite pieces of equipment.
 
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The Wrap
 
Connor Jacobson Today’s edition by:
Connor
From the editor
It’s a big week for Lakeland parks. In addition to accepting Holloway Park, city commissioners also approved $303,000 in new playground equipment for Barnett Family Park yesterday. Expect a new climbing net, spinner, and turf. Don’t expect a waterslide into the nearby Lake Mirror — this was just the City’s April Fools’ joke.
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