TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay woman who suffered an unthinkable tragedy ended up turning it into a way to feed, dress and educate needy children.
“When Beth walked into the room, this light would just shine. Everyone wanted to be Beth,” Kay Dillinger said.
Dillinger was describing her daughter Beth, who tragically and unexpectedly passed away in 2006 right before she was set to get married.
“We went from planning a wedding to, just hours later, planning a funeral,” Dillinger said.
As their only child, Beth’s death came as a shock to both Kay and her husband Bob.
“We had a decision to make. Either wallow in self pity or do something to make an impact in the community,” Bob Dillinger said.
The decision was to keep Beth’s light shining.
“We started Beth’s Closet at PACE Center for Girls which is just filled with anything a teenage girl could want,” explained Dillinger.
From there, it grew into the Beth Dillinger Foundation, which includes everything from handing out scholarships to seniors who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go to college to so much more. To date, they have awarded 250 scholarships.
The Beth Dillinger Foundation is focused on educating, dressing and feeding needy children. Through the Nourish to Flourish program, kids don’t have to worry about going hungry.
“When they get this package of food they just clutch it to their chest like you’ve given them the biggest gift imaginable,” Dillinger said.
This work is a true testament that Kay Dillinger and her husband have taken the event that changed their lives for the worst and used it as a way to change thousands of children’s lives for the best.
You can learn more about the Beth Dillinger Foundation on the organization’s website.