It’s such a kind gesture for so many to donate heavily to the children in Immokalee, but one of the problems we have is that very few ever donate to the children of East Naples, and there are so many more children in this area, and many parents are farm workers who work at 6 L’s Farms right here in East Naples. There are six Title I schools in the East Naples area, and approximately 97% of the children fall into the poverty rate. One of the problems is there are few collection or advisory organizations that deal directly with the children in the schools. The Marco Island Kiwanis helps the children at Manatee Elementary School in a wonderful way, the East Naples Kiwanis Club does their best to help as well, but theirs is a small club, so it’s difficult to raise money. The East Naples Foundation, the funding arm for the East Naples Civic Association, holds a Golf Tournament fundraiser every year to raise money for scholarships for Lely graduates, but it doesn’t go very far. There are different organizations in East Naples that raise money, but it’s for their own organizations and some have children, such as St. Matthews House and Shelter for Abused Women, but that barely touches all of the needs for all the kids in six elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. I’m just telling you about this because most people don’t even realize there is such a need right in our own backyard. Now you’re aware. The East Naples Foundation, coupled with the East Naples Civic Association just held their Charity Golf Tournament to again raise funds for scholarships for the soon-to-graduate seniors. The event was held at Royal Palm Country Club, with a scrumptious dinner following. If any of you ever think of helping anyone in this general vicinity, but don’t know who to call, try any of the elementary schools and ask about their needs and what you can do to help. Last year one of the biggest requests from one elementary school was blankets and pillows for the children who lost them during Hurricane Irma. I was told the children hugged those blankets and pillows like they had never been given a blanket before. Another school needed clothing for their school closet for those who came to school without underwear, or wore shoes that didn’t fit, or who have soiled their clothes or torn them. The schools need items for their closets to help these children. Books are another wonderful gift. Just call any principal or guidance counselor and you will quickly learn how you can help these kids too.
- Well, the Pickleball U. S. Open Championships have ended with another spectacular outcome. With 2,042 players on 54 courts, the excitement just filled the air! One thing you can’t miss from the moment you get there is the friendliness that is everywhere. Players encouraging players, each helping one another, lots of smiles and laughter and I never heard a cross word again this year! No wonder people love to play the game. There were lots of gold and silver medals awarded. Top players from all over the country and the world came to compete. The people on the originating team that organizes and plans all year are working their heads off every hour of every day. Everywhere you look you see Terry Graham running from one job to another, and then look a little further and you see Chris Evon (I wonder if those ladies ever get to sleep for the weeks and months before, but I know they cannot sleep during the final week and during the tournament!), always with a smile on her face, appearing everywhere she is needed, while Jim Ludwig is the fix-it guy and he’s everywhere that he needs to be to put out fires or fix toilets, etc. Then there is Carol Caefer, who makes sure all the orders are carried out and all the jobs are being performed beautifully. I’ve just named the main team of organizers, but following closely behind are all the volunteers who make the place hum! And they keep coming back each year and always with a smile on their faces! It’s like old home week when they start to come in from other cities, and they see the regular volunteers from Collier County pitching in as usual, and they see friendship. And you know what? Folks stay until the very end! No one leaves early to get to their car first. They all stay to watch until the tournament ends, and on Saturday night there is a lot of excitement as the final games are played, the gold and silver medals are awarded, the procession of flags from all of the other countries and states waving their flags proudly. A cute note: as I left church today one parishioner said to me “you’re not wearing your pickleball necklace.” I said no, today I was wearing a different style necklace, but I was so surprised because I didn’t realize anyone even noticed how much I wore it. It was such a nice gesture.
- I’m not sure about gasoline prices, but if I remember correctly, just a few short years ago they used to charge 10 cents extra for mid-priced gasoline, and 10 cents more for premium. Then price wars and greed entered into the equation, and the extra octane fuel was charged 15 cents more and premium another 15 cents. Then it went up to 20 cents each step. My guess is they figured bigger, nicer cars can pay more so let’s see how much the market will pay. Then it went up to 25 cents each price hike. Yesterday I paid 30 cents more, but I bought a lower octane because I won’t be gouged that much anymore. Yes, my car says to put premium in the gas tank, but I just do not want to pay that price! I think if I owned a gas station I would charge 20 cents for each hike, and the word would get around that my prices were better, and although I wasn’t making as much money on each gallon, I bet that others would notice they could get a better price and would come to my gas station as well! I notice the lowest price gasoline is from Murphy Oil, but there aren’t many of those around, and that lowest price was on regular, they too hiked up the price a little higher than the station close by on premium fuel.