By Tamas Mondovics

After a year of fundraising, it was time for members of the Brandon Rotary Club to enjoy the fruits of their labor, which has culminated in the donating of close to $50,000 to seven local charities deservingf the support.

The ceremony took place during a recent luncheon led by outgoing club president, John Gardner, who welcomed the club members, as well as greeted representatives of the charitable organizations receiving the help.

Gardner explained that the money was raised throughout the year and received from a number of local donors as contributions to the club’s efforts and was allocated by votes between the seven organizations.

“We are delighted to be able to support these organizations, who themselves do so much for our communities,” Gardner said. “I want to thank all of you who bring so much happiness, food, care and support to so many needy members of our community.”

Based on the amount of votes, the funds were then distributed proportionately, with the most votes received by the Rotary’s Camp Florida, followed by the Brandon Outreach Clinic, Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, Emergency Care Help Organization (ECHO), Rotary Scholarship Fund, I Am Hope Cafe and the Boys and Girls Club.

Thankful for the more than $6,500 donation, ECHO representative, Stacy Efaw, emphasized the necessity of the support due to the ever-growing need to help Brandon area families.

“Last year we served more than 16,000 people and the number keeps growing,” she said. “Thank you so much for all your support.”

While also highlighting the growth in the community, Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center Executive Director, Chuck Burgess, thanked the Rotary Club for its generosity when he said, “We have also grown tremendously over the past five years and with the opening of several new programs, the money will be put to good use. We appreciate all your support from the bottom of our hearts.”

Receiving the second most votes, and thus more than $10,000, was the Brandon Outreach Clinic. “Without this money we would not be able to save peoples’ lives,” she said. “The funds will go towards medicine and medical supplies for those who otherwise cannot afford it or don’t have enough income to afford health insurance or pay for medical care.”

To close the event, Fred Schwabe accepted the position as president of the Brandon Rotary Club, which was established in 1961, committed to community and international service.

For more information about the Brandon Rotary Club, please visit


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