By Caitlin Masessa

Since its founding in 1961, the Brandon Newcomers Club has been leaving its mark on the community by raising money for notable charities; including Paws for Patriots, Hugs of Florida, and the Mary & Martha House. At the annual meeting on Wednesday, May 17, the Newcomers continued this trend of kindness by presenting a donation of $2,625 to the Fisher House Foundation, an organization that provides comfort homes to families of injured military personnel and veterans so that they may be close to their loved ones while they receive medical treatment.

The ladies’ social club raised the money through the annual “Make It, Bake It, Sew It, and Grow It” auction. “It warms my heart to know that this money was raised from the purchasing of homemade goods,” Paula Welenc of the Fisher House Foundation addressed the Club. “The women are always generous when it comes to donating,” Re Dangremond of the Brandon Newcomers beamed proudly.

“It’s a worthwhile cause,” Newcomers member Barbara Babiaz answered when asked why the Fisher House won among the Club’s vote of which of three charities would receive the money. “Especially when it benefits our wounded warriors and the families that made them.”

Welenc was proud to say that “one-hundred percent” of the funds were going directly to the families the Fisher House strives to accommodate. “Linens, cookware… there’s a lot that this money will be going to,” Welenc said, listing only a few of the many benefits the donation would bring.

Although always helpful, money isn’t the only form of donation the Fisher House receives. The Foundation has multiple operations that it encourages the public to contribute to. The Hero Miles Program accepts donated frequent flyer miles that families may use to travel to the bedside of their loved ones while the Hotels for Heroes Program utilizes donated hotel points for families to stay close to the hospital and VA Centers.

“We’re always looking for volunteers at our locations,” Welenc encouraged the room.

For information on Fisher House and how you can become a part of their mission, please visit their website at

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