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HIGH SPRINGS – An organization that brings comfort and joy to ease suffering during times of traumatic events, medical challenges and loss has been named SunState Federal Credit Union’s June 2020 Charity of the Month. This is the third time High Springs-based Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses has won the award. A $1,000 prize will be awarded to the organization along with a $300 nomination prize.

A charity can only be entered into the contest once every two years. Gentle Carousel won two years ago and then two years prior to that. However, they can’t win unless they are nominated and receive the greatest number of votes during a given month. In addition to the prize money, the Charity of the Month program provides local organizations community awareness in the local area and beyond.

The money will be used for transportation costs for the therapy horses. “Yes, they are still making visits with social distancing,” said Debbie Garcia-Bengochia, one of the organization’s administrators. “This week the horses will be outside the windows of several assisted living programs using indoor and outdoor iPads to talk to the residents and answer questions,” she said. Following their “window visits” residents receive stuffed toy horses as a remembrance of their visit.

According to Sunstate, Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses bring love to over 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals, hospice programs, assisted living programs, and with families, veterans and first responders who have experienced traumatic events.

A SunState spokesperson said, “Our number one goal for the Charity of the Month program is to give smaller, local organizations…the very ones that are the heart and soul of our communities…some much needed exposure.

“When you think about it, it’s hard to believe something as small and easy to accomplish as voting for a Charity of the Month could have such a big impact…but it does”

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