TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Kay Dillinger as the 19th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against the Winnipeg Jets. Dillinger, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Beth Dillinger Foundation.
Dillinger quit her career has a courtroom reporter after her only daughter died to begin a foundation that provides support and education for children in need. She created the Beth Dillinger Foundation, named after her daughter, in 2007, and began working at the PACE school in Pinellas Park. The Foundation created Beth's Closet which focused on at-risk girls, providing them with clothing and rewards for positive behavior. It expanded to a "Closet Day" every six weeks, which is a celebration of positive behavior and during which each girl gets to select a new outfit.
Operating with only volunteers and no overhead costs, Dillinger honors her daughter's memory and legacy by feeding, clothing and helping educate countless children in the Tampa Bay area. She started The Hope Chest, which serves foster children in the Public Defender's Office. She helps raise scholarship funds for boys and girls wishing to continue their education to a higher level. Dillinger also began the campaign Nourish to Flourish, a partnership with the 6th Circuit Public Defender's Office that feeds chronically hungry children.