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Date of Issue: December 20, 2007

Center grant deadline Dec. 31

The world is counting down the days to the end of the year and the start of 2008: Thirteen if you are reading TheIslander the morning of its issue date.

And that’s about how long the Island community has to match a challenge grant offered by Holmes Beach residents Chuck and Joey Lester. The grant would go to the Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave., Anna Maria.

The Lesters, in partnership with The Islander, have offered to put up $50,000 to benefit the Center’s building and endowment funds.

The couple, long-time supporters of the Center who also sponsor the traditional Fun Day in December and the annual auction-dinner, hope the community can match their $50,000 by Dec. 31.

As of Dec. 14, the Center had received $6,550 in community donations, according to spokesperson Sandy Pruett.

The Lesters have issued similar challenges in years past to raise money for the non-profit community group, which recently opened its new building after about a year of operating mostly from a trailer and the activity hall at St. Bernard Catholic Church.

Last year, The Islander-Lester campaign raised $117,495, of which Islanders and friends donated $67,495. A total of 183 donors joined the Lesters in the effort.

The Center provides more than 1.5 million hours of service to more than 3,400 Island residents each year.

To contribute to the campaign, mail tax-deductible donations to Lester-Islander Challenge, P.O. Box 253, Anna Maria FL 34216, payable to AMICC.

For more information, call the Center at 941-778-1908 or The Islander at 941-778-7978.