OLDSMAR, Fla. — Longtime Oldsmar resident Sharon Edwards created a new charity earlier this year called, “Life is a Donation,” which has boxes in about 30 businesses to collect critical care items for area homeless shelters.

What You Need To Know

  • Life is a Donation launched in February

  • Founder Sharon Edwards said she named the charity after a phrase her mom would often use

  • About 30 Oldsmar businesses have collection boxes

  • Once a month the charity delivers the donations to an area homeless shelter

“We go out to a different homeless shelter once a month and we find out what their critical needs are,” said Edwards. “It’s a group effort. Whether the city, the citizens, the businesses, we all can contribute and we all can help.”

The charity sends out a flyer to all participating businesses once a month with a list of the specific items needed. Edwards said she has been doing this kind of charity work for about 8 years and decided to create her own nonprofit in February. She named it after a phrase her mom would often use.

“My mom literally used to say, ‘Life is a donation’ and ‘Give from your heart,’” she said. “I was taught really young to give back to your community.”  

Every Wednesday, Edwards visits all the collection box locations in Oldsmar to pick up the donations and then delivers them for storage to the Beamworks audio and visual lighting warehouse, which she has nicknamed, “God’s locker.”

“They allow us to store all of the items we collect each and every month,” she said. “They’ve just been a blessing.”

Operations Manager Drew McMullian said Beamworks decided to give Life is a Donation free storage and access to their box trucks after going on a charitable delivery.

“The first one we did, we realized, ‘Hey, you’re driving a U-Haul truck in here and where are you keeping this?’” said McMullian. “We realized it’s in her living room and it’s in her bathroom and it has taken over half of her house and we’re like, ‘We have a warehouse. We have trucks. How can we help?’”

Edwards works full time as a sales representative at Obey Imaging and she said the business is her main sponsor.

“When you’re printing and buying your toner needs from Obey, you’re not just feeding your printer,” she said. “You’re actually feeding homeless people that really need it.”

Edwards has a collection tub at the Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and many businesses who are members also have boxes, according to Pres. and CEO Mark Howe.

“Sharon does a really good job putting it together,” he said. “We have a lot of Chamber members that have those bins.”

Edwards said Life is a Donation aims to energize all involved and she’s always looking for more volunteers.

“There’s nothing better than showing other people how to help other people,” she said. “I’m a vehicle that can do that. So, jump on board. We‘ll get this train moving.”