COVID-19 hasn’t stopped kindness from local businesses, nonprofits and others in our communities. Here’s some good news from around the area.

When Sarasota County students with no money in their lunch account pick out food it’s thrown away and replaced with a cheese sandwich.

At Glenallen Elementary School about 80% of the school population is on free or reduced lunch. At most other North Port schools and Englewood Elementary, about 55% of students are on free or reduced lunch. But when the students who are not given free lunches don’t pay, the charges accumulate.

At the high school level, students don’t receive their diploma until the school lunch charges are paid. At the lower levels, the student’s parents are asked for payment. If they can’t pay, the child continues to receive a cheese sandwich.

Sarasota County School Board member Eric Robinson recently donated to local schools to erase the school-lunch debt.

“Since I became a School Board member, I’ve donated my monthly salary to a worthy cause at schools,” he said. “Very often students come to school with no money for lunch. It’s not their fault. They still need to be fed nutritious food. For some, it’s the only nutritious meal they have all day.”

When schools closed in March due to the pandemic, many students had lunchroom debt.

“Since these times are hard for many families, I have decided to personally pay off that debt for all students Atwater, Englewood, Glenallen, Toledo Blade, Gocio, Venice, Tuttle and Oak Park and Emma E. Booker,” he said. “It’s a small gesture, but I hope it will give their families peace of mind with one less thing to worry about.”

Often times parents are too prideful to apply for free or reduced lunch for their children, according to Glenallen Elementary School counselors. Parents are encouraged to sign up so their children can eat a hot meal at school. Some parents believe the application is shared with other governmental agencies. However, it’s not. School officials explain it’s there to help families in need.

Rotonda Golf Club scholarships

Each year, the Rotonda Men’s Golf Association has a scholarship golf tournament. The event is normally held in late March or early April.

“We typically have about 100 golfers, plus volunteers, and conclude the event with a luncheon at Rotonda Hills Golf course,” said Roger Holck, RMGA treasurer. “The members sell hole sponsorships to local business and individual members plus several businesses donate merchandise and gift certificates to be auctioned off during the luncheon. We also have area golf courses donate free rounds of golf that we auction as well. We have two boat captains who donate their boat and time to the cause.”

In 2019, RMGA raised enough funds to award 12 Lemon Bay High School graduates $1,000 scholarships.

“That amount of $12,000 was our goal for 2020 as well,” he said.

“Due to COVID-19, we had to postpone the golf tournament with plans to still have the tournament in November,” Holck said. “Our area merchants and individuals came through again this year to provide nearly $5,000 for the scholarship fund. We decided to have a virtual auction using email to raise an additional $5,000 selling the 26 golf course complimentary rounds and the two boat charters.”

RMGA recently awarded nine scholarships to LBHS students for $1,000 each and a $1,000 scholarship to a North Port graduate.

“We expected to raise more funds from the golf tournament that can be provided for 2021 scholarships,” he said.

Also, a member recently notified the RMGA of the need for funds for Englewood Helping Hand. Members quickly raised $1,175 for the cause.

Mask giveaway

The North Port police and fire departments recently gave away cloth masks at City Center Green. They plan to give more away through a grant to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.


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