About Citrus United Basket
Citrus United Basket, Inc. (C.U.B.) is a 501(c) 3, non-profit organization. C.U.B. was created in 1978 to assist Citrus County families facing temporary hardship. Born of an idea, C.U.B. has successfully fulfilled its mission for over 36 years.
The Beginning Days:
1977 Dot Zipper, was director-in-charge for family services of Citrus County; the tax base extremely low; county resources were limited; requests for help were overwhelming and she approached County Commissioners who came up with an idea of creating a non-profit to assist people in Citrus County.
Mid/Late1978 - County created first parks and recreation position for Citrus County. John Barnes (from Homosassa) was hired and the County Commissioners decided that one of his first tasks should be in the creation of Citrus United Basket (C.U.B.).
1978 - After bringing together influential people in the county they came up with and established a board, wrote the Articles of Incorporation and obtained our 501(c)3. The very first subscribers to the Articles were Jerry Steed, Charles B. Adkins and Rev. George Dettman of First United Methodist Church of Inverness.
Originally, there were no facilities or structure available for C.U.B. while it accumulated materials and clothing. However, the county did have an old shed located on Cooter Pond near the old Sheriff's office in Inverness, which is where items were stored for C.U.B. on the EAST side of the county.
Rev. Roger Shively, minister of First UMC Homosassa, had a large shed on the church grounds that he designated to store items for C.U.B. on the WEST side of the county.
Food and monetary donations increased and the board realized the need for an inside facility to protect items. The county commissioners authorized using part of the basement in the Old Courthouse. The original system serviced social workers who helped families in need. Social Workers would meet in the Old Courthouse twice a month to discuss needs for their assigned family cases. Then they would walk across the street to Bernie Adkins's office located on Old Square for a check.
C.U.B.'s first volunteer was Ms. Jean McKenzie who had two children and was on AFDC.
Christmas 1979 marks the very first holiday food give-a-way dinners where a line of recipients formed all the way around the Old Courthouse. Also started by Nola Gravius was the toy give-a-way when volunteers would clean used donated toys to give to children for Christmas.
The Inverness Theatre would play special children's movies throughout the week before Christmas and invited children to donate cans of food, as did the local schools.
The Post Master in Crystal River asked people to donate a can of food for Christmas by leaving their donations next to their mailbox. C.U.B. started growing, which required a place to store donations of food. The Old Chronicle building, located near 581 & 44, allowed C.U.B. to use their building for a few years.
Upon completion of the New Courthouse and renovation of the Old Courthouse; the county commissioners moved C.U.B. to the Stoval property off Apopka. This property consisted of three storage buildings. The main building was in the best condition and used for the thrift store and food pantry. However, it did not have inside toilets and volunteers had to use a gas station located on the corner. The property was low and flooded often, which required volunteers to get into their vehicles to drive out to the gas station every time they needed to use the restroom.
Early 1980's - ABATE biker organization, launched Toys for Tots in Citrus County to support C.U.B., which lasted for more than 25 years as one of the major sources for Christmas and continues today through the Harley Owner's Group (HOG). The ABATE bike run would stop traffic and they would take over the entire downtown Inverness area.
C.U.B. remained at that location until early the 2000's, when the county decided to build the tax collectors building and government offices.
The City of Inverness gave control of a parcel of land on Mill Avenue to the county commissioners so that they could lease it to C.U.B.. The property consisted of an old dilapidated house less that 1,000sf. One of the volunteers fell through the floor and under boards were installed to provide additional support. C.U.B. operated at that location for a few years.
Up until 1998, C.U.B. was using a DOS Radio Shack Tandy computer with original Radio Shack hardware and one fax machine.
1999 - An upgraded computer with Windows was donated which brought C.U.B. into the 21st century. That facility eventually became inadequate and C.U.B. bought its first portable garage for storage at Christmas. A local gentleman would donate a large tent, which was used in conjunction with the garage to help with the toy and food giveaway.
Eventually, two large pods were rented from Tampa for food storage at Christmas and year round usage for two years. A food pantry shed was then purchased.
Tom Mawhinney became a member of the board. Tom previously served on the board of directors for Hospice of Citrus County. He knew that Hospice of Citrus County was in the process of building a new facility and he was responsible for getting the Hospice board to agree to give us our current main building, which is where the thrift store, kitchen, offices and restrooms are located. The county and city approved. The dilapidated house was wiped out, cleared and leveled.
Three neighboring lots were owned by the city, which were given control to the county, which C.U.B. rents for $1.00 per year. C.U.B. paid approximately $10,000 to move and erect the 2,000sf building donated by Hospice of Citrus County. The long wheelchair ramp had to be built three times in order to meet code.
During the same period of time C.U.B. started to purchase computers and was networked. Internet access and Website was installed around 2004-5.
2008 - Increased food to 17.5 lbs. and family bags to 33.5 pounds; implemented menus to ensure a healthy balance of food was being provided instead of odds and ends; a nutritionist approved menus; purchasing of fresh produce and lean ground turkey and beef to lower fat content for clients; increased amount of refrigeration space to ensure quality of food.
2013 - CUB’s need for increased space along with the growth/development programs of the City of Inverness, there was an increased awareness generated for a “new CUB home.” An intense Building Campaign was initiated with varied fund raising events and speaking engagements.
2014 - The Citrus County Community responded with overwhelming support! The fall of 2014 showcased the opening of CUB’s new home, 1201 Parkside Avenue, Inverness (across the street from the Inverness Middle School entrance on US Hwy 41) The new home includes a large Thrift Store, office space, Food Pantry, along with a furniture and supply storage area.
Please check back for future updates. Please let us know of any additional information that we can add or of any information that needs to be corrected.