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The Lake Mary Lifeline

The Lake Mary Lifeline

Get the latest Lake Mary news and find out what’s happening all around Seminole County from the most recent Lake Mary Life articles.

It's All About the Kids for the Heathrow Women's Club

Featured Photo from It's All About the Kids for the Heathrow Women's Club

At their last luncheon meeting of the season, members of the Heathrow Women’s Club gathered to distribute the tens of thousands of dollars they raised during the past year. Whether it was a garage sale, a formal gala, movie night, or any of the club’s other fundraising activities, the generosity and hard work of the members is always impressive. And the funds they raise are always donated to a great cause, positively impacting the lives of disadvantaged children in our community.

At their last luncheon meeting of the season, members of the Heathrow Women’s Club gathered to distribute the tens of thousands of dollars they raised during the past year. Whether it was a garage sale, a formal gala, movie night, or any of the club’s other fundraising activities, the generosity and hard work of the members is always impressive. And the funds they raise are always donated to a great cause, positively impacting the lives of disadvantaged children in our community.

“This year has been both good and bad,” said Patti Neveleff, the club’s president. “We lost a dear friend and valued member, Christine Gillen and we celebrated our 30th anniversary. We are grateful to Oakmonte Village at Lake Mary for hosting a wonderful party. And, we were named Best Nonprofit by the Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce.”

During her remarks at the luncheon, Patti went on to thank the club’s new partner, BNY Pershing Mellon, for providing volunteers at club events during the year and for making donations to the club.

“This has helped us make up for funds lost in the cancellation of our annual golf tournament due to the hurricane,” explained Patti. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner.”

Putting Money Where It Matters
In front of a packed house of very proud club members, Adrienne DeRienzo, chair of the Heathrow Women’s Club charitable endeavors committee, called individual representatives from the club’s chosen charities to share their story about how the club has positively affected their organization.

Hearts, Hands, and Hope 
New to this year’s list of charities supported by the Heathrow Women’s Club is Hearts, Hands, and Hope, a nonprofit organization devoted to children and families who are struggling. The Women’s Club helped fund its Summer Food Program.

“Forty-two of the Seminole County Public Schools have food pantries,” Michelle Wilson, executive director of Hearts, Hands, and Hope, told the luncheon crowd. “Many of the children at these schools also depend on the free or reduced lunch program for their breakfast and lunches during the school year. Over the summer, these children often don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

In stepped the Women’s Club with donations of food and funds. This summer, the club’s service will continue with a grocery-bag-filling event that will take place at Heathrow’s Sawyer Park. Members of the club will not only be filling the bags with their donations, they’ll be delivering the bags directly to local schools.

Friends of Abused Children
For many years, Seminole County Friends of Abused Children (SCFAC), the fundraising arm of the county’s Guardian ad Litem program, has been the recipient of Heathrow Women’s Club funds. Faith Shorthouse, SCFAC president, shared how the club’s donation is used to provide children who are in foster care with fees and equipment for sports programs, music and dance lessons, and in-home tutoring. She also described a new SCFAC program that helps older children deal with their anger. This year, another new program called Uplift will be used to support single parents.

“When a child who lives in a single-parent home is sick, the parent has to miss work,” said Faith. “Sometimes, the missed wages can set the family back. Now, this program will replace the lost salary, and the family can stay on track.”

This, Faith explained, is possible because of the Heathrow Women’s Club.

SafeHouse of Seminole
A longtime Seminole County emergency shelter and outreach center for women and children who are victims of domestic abuse, SafeHouse of Seminole has benefited from the generosity of the Heathrow Women’s Club for many years. This year, CEO Jeanne Gold announced that the club’s most recent contribution will be used to purchase a much-needed 12-passenger van.

“We have a Stow ‘n Go van, but it’s more stow than go, and it now seats only four people,” Jeanne laughed. “That makes it hard to get people to work and to get kids to school.”

Jeanne also thanked the Women’s Club for past years’ funds that have been used to create a very popular art room.

“This year, when I told the children who use the art room that I was coming to see the ladies of the Heathrow Women’s Club, they decided to make you a gift,” Jeanne beamed. The above photo says it all.

The Boys & Girls Clubs West Sanford Branch
“Please don’t stop the birthday parties!” exclaimed a delighted Alicia Hodge, regional development director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida. “They are very important to the kids.”

Alicia expressed her gratitude for all that the Women’s Club members have done for the West Sanford Boys & Girls Clubs branch over the years, both with financial contributions and in volunteer work. This year, because of the club’s donations, a new program called Reading Buddies is being developed to match volunteers with a young child who is struggling with reading. Alicia also invited the Women’s Club members to join her at the upcoming October 7 Faces of the Future breakfast.

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