Having fun and helping others, at the same time

Laughter echoes throughout the Lutz Community Center, as women — some donning purple spray paint in their hair — settle in for some friendly games.

These women have come to a benefit, organized by the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club, to support Sunrise of Pasco County, Inc., a domestic and sexual violence center.

Sunrise provides free counseling, advocacy, and support services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence. It also serves family or friends that have been affected by violence through its outreach program.

The ladies gathering for the event had fun playing games and socializing, while supporting an organization that helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence. (B.C. Manion)

Many of those attending the event came bearing bags of all shapes and sizes, filled with items intended to help those arriving at Sunrise’s shelter.

The donated goods included soaps, shampoos, hair products, lotions, fragrances, socks, toothpaste, cotton swabs, hand sanitizers and other items.

Annette Bellingar, first vice president of the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club, said some women brought in bags filled with stuff. Others just brought in items off the list, and there were others who donated money or gift cards, she said.

Amanda Markiewicz, chief programs officer for Sunrise of Pasco County, Inc., said “we’ve had collaboration with this club and a lot of the other GFWC clubs in the area for a long time. We appreciate the support.”

The event was timed to coincide with Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is in October.

“We have a 40-bed shelter,” Markiewicz said. “We provide them (people at the shelter) with anything you would think is in a household. Basic hygiene items. Clothing.

“We’re able to help them with support services, crisis counseling, advocacy, help with finding jobs or housing or any kind of case management.”

Nearly all of the ladies at the brunch wore purple, in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

While raising $900 in contributions — including a $15 donation per person for the brunch, the ladies also donated enough items for the shelter to fill an SUV and another car.

Besides doing good, they had fun.

They played games and socialized. And, they dined on a homemade brunch buffet that included everything from French toast, to chicken salad sandwiches, to fresh fruit, hash browns, casserole dishes and more.

To learn more about Sunrise, call (352) 567-1681 or visit SunrisePasco.org.

Want to help? Here’s a list of items needed at Sunrise of Pasco County Inc.

Shelter items needed


All-purpose cleaner


Baby formula

Body wash

Canned goods


Disposable gloves

Dryer sheets

Feminine pads

Forks, spoons, cups

Floor cleaner

Hair brushes

Hair ties

Hand soap

Headphones, ear buds

Ibuprofin (children and adult)



Lice treatments

Light bulbs

Long-handled dustpan



Pepto Bismal

Petroleum Jelly

Phone chargers

Q Tips




Stomach medicine



Vicks VapoRub

Ziploc bags

Published October 09, 2019

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