TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Jane Ford as the 10th Lightning Community Hero of the year this afternoon at Bayshore Baptist Church, located in Tampa. Ford, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Camelot Community Care.
Ford has always been the kind of person that donates her time and efforts and expects nothing in return. She quietly has volunteered her time making sure that 18-year-olds exiting foster care move into their first independent apartment fully furnished and equipped with all the comforts of a home. In 2011, after Ford learned that young people aging out of the county care system would have no household items, she began First Nesters, an organization that secures, delivers and arranges furniture and household goods in apartments for people going out on their own for the first time.
She partnered with peers through the Bayshore Baptist Church Women's Ministry and began working on helping others begin their lives. They use donated furniture to furnish each residence and also paint and clean to prepare young adults for their next step in life. Over the past year, Ford and her team of volunteers have put in more than 6,000 hours towards furnishing apartments the same way they would if each individual was their own child.