Most teenage girls dream of clothes, jewelry, gift cards and maybe even a car for their birthday. But not Gulfport resident Elizabeth Brown-Worthington, who celebrated her 17th birthday at the end of February.
Every year on the last Saturday in February, she and her family hold a birthday party in their backyard. It began as a small party for her first birthday and has grown every year. This year they had an estimated 160 attendees, despite the rainy weather.
The event grew so dramatically that they stopped calling it a birthday party. it is now known as the Worthington Mullet Fry. They also stopped asking for gifts and added one line to the invitations: “Elizabeth asks that in lieu of gifts her guests bring canned goods or non-perishable food items that will be donated to the Gulfport Senior Center.”
Now in its sixth year, Brown-Worthington’s collection brought in 500 food items, along with several cans of wet cat food, 80 pounds of dry cat food and one bag of cat litter.
Following the party, Brown-Worthington and her family sorted all of the food, put it all into a not-so-little red wagon and set off on the three-block walk to the Senior Center.
The food in the Senior Center food pantry tends to run out quickly and they will always accept donations. The items that go the quickest are hearty soups and Chef Boyardee-type items. It is also best, but not required, if the cans are easy open pop-tops. All donations can be brought to the Gulfport Senior Center at 5501 27th Ave. S. You can also contact Rachel Cataldo at 727-893-1231 for more information on what the food pantry needs at that time.