By Tamas Mondovics


Brandon-based, senior ladies social group, Newcomers Club, have once again hit the ball out of the park and gave a clear testimony to what working together for a great cause is all about.

Demonstrating their commitment to the community by supporting a local charity of their choice, the group has presented a $4,000 check to the Mary & Martha House, a private non-profit organization that provides temporary, emergency shelter and longer term transitional housing for homeless and abused women and children living in unincorporated Hillsborough County.

The funds were raised by club members during its annual Make It, Bake It, Sew It and Grow It auction, normally held in November.

The Mary & Martha House has been functioning and serving the community through private donations since 1982 when it was established by three women in the Ruskin community who identified a growing need of support for abused woman within their community.

A Board of Directors was formed in April 1987. The organization was incorporated and became a 501(c)(3) the following year.

“We are grateful for all the hard work done by the staff at the Mary & Martha House,” said Newcomers Club member, Mary Bailey, who after some personal research was fully convinced that the charity was the right choice.

Everyone agreed, including Newcomers Club treasurer Carol Miller, who nominated the Mary & Martha House as well as current group president, Donna Libershal. “I am very pleased with the amount of money we were able to raise both this year and, last year. It is the Club’s largest donation so far.”

In 2014, the Newcomers donated $3,500 dollars to Relay for Life.

Unaware of the amount, Mary & Martha House Employment and Housing Coordinator Denise Reiter, was on hand to accept the donation.

Overcome by emotion, Reiter, herself a former Mary & Martha House resident, was thankful for the Club’s generosity and its members’ community-oriented focus.

“I want to thank you all so much for your generous support,” Reiter said. “Your care and generous act here, makes a huge difference in the work we do helping abused and homeless women and their children to transform their lives.”

Reiter added that Mary & Martha House continues to provide emergency shelter, transitional housing and comprehensive support services in an environment of dignity, compassion and respect.

The Newcomers Club, meets once a month on every third Wednesday at the Brandon Recreation Center on 502 Sadie Street, and also supports many other charities throughout the year including donating toys in November to the Sheriffs Department to give out to kids so they might have a nice Christmas.

The now 118-member-strong Newcomers Club, has been functioning in the community since 1961, and enjoys welcoming new members each month.

For more information about the Newcomers Club, the community is welcome to attend its events, whether new to the area or longtime residents. Membership is $15 per year.

For more information about the Mary & Martha House please visit

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