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Barn Drive Raises $8500

The unique fundraiser permitted social distancing with no contact via drive-up donations. A group of LWRWC members, husbands, and friends, joined by SMART Executive Director, Rebecca Blitz, and SMART Barn Manager and Instructor, Samantha Toomey, braved intense midday heat, wearing masks and gloves, as they greeted drivers and helped unload donations that included a wide variety of supplies, horse treats, store gift cards, and many generous checks for SMART.

SMART, a primarily volunteer 501(c)(3) tax deductible organization, is one of the Women’s Club’s beloved adopted charities. Since 1987, SMART fills a crucial need for effective and affordable therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving programs for children (ages 5 and over) and adults with a wide range of physical, emotional or cognitive disabilities (including veterans suffering from PTSD and SELA trafficking victims) regardless of their financial circumstances.

During these times of great adversity, it is more important than ever that non-profit organizations like SMART can be there for those in need in our community. LWRWC wanted to proactively help the selfless SMART staff, volunteers, and amazing SMART horses by holding a Barn Drive. While masks hid the smiles, they could not disguise the warmth of fun, friendship, and community service that signifies the LWRWC and their love for SMART. 

LWRWC Sewing Angels

A group of talented ladies with sewing skills and compassionate hearts formed the LWRWC Mask and Sewing Angels team and are sewing much needed masks to donate to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and to the Club’s adopted charities. The Club wanted to make a meaningful contribution to the effort to keep the community safe during this terrible Covid-19 pandemic.

Peggy Kerwin, Executive Director, Solve Maternity Homes and her husband Brian Kerwin, Solve Development Director, wearing masks sewn and donated by the LWRWC Mask and Sewing Angels team.

The members of the team include Linda Stone, Christina Soderberg, Susan Strahs, Miriam Echevarria, Michelle Steiner, MaryLee Danahy, Nancy Chaplin, Janet Stickel, Nancy LoPiccolo, Rosie Sorrells, Trish Newman, Jan Howard, Joyce Boccella, Edith Petrock, Laura Kaufman, Katherine Benoit, Ann Sledz, Hanne Johansen, and LWRWC Co-Presidents, Cheryl Breining and Helene Levin. Val Wheat, owner of Running With Scissors Apparel Design Studio in Bradenton, generously donated fabric to get the team started. Members also donated fabric and much needed elastic.

On Monday, May 4, LWRWC Co-President, Helene Levin, delivered 50 masks to Solve Maternity Homes that were sewn and donated by the Mask and Sewing Angels team. Solve Executive Director, Peggy Kerwin, was delighted to receive this much needed donation to help keep the expectant mothers and dedicated staff safe during the pandemic.

The LWRWC Mask and Sewing Angels team has sewn over 400 masks that were delivered to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. They are in the process of making 400 more for the LWRWC four adopted charities, HOPE Family Services, Solve Maternity Homes, SMART Riding Therapy, and Children’s Guardian Fund, that will be delivered on an as needed basis. To date, the team donated 100 masks to Solve, 50 Masks to Children’s Guardian Fund and 50 masks to SMART. The team will also be donating masks to Home Health Care Workers and First Responders.