Pelican Landing donates $10,000 to local charities

The Literacy Council of Bonita Springs is $5,000 richer today. So is the Cafe of Life.

Pelican Landing made the donations after raising $10,000 during a charity auction last week. Checks were presented to Susan Acuna, executive director at the Literacy Council, and to Jane Wheatley, who represents the Operations Committee of the Cafe of Life.

“We are so humbled and honored to receive this donation,” said Acuna. “In these economic times so many organizations have had shortfalls, and grants have dried up a little bit. Our individual donors have been wonderful to us, but this gift is so welcomed and so needed in this environment. This donation from Pelican Landing is a true blessing!”

Pelican Landing residents June Ricks and Kathy Spalti presented the checks at a ceremony Thursday.

“How wonderful!” said Wheatley. “This means so much to us. We are serving lunches to so many people now, and this check means a great deal to the Cafe of Life when you think about how many meals it could mean.”

The Cafe of Life is an organization which provides free meals to needy people in Bonita Springs. The Literacy Council provides educational training, primarily in studying English, to those in the community who would otherwise be forced to live without this basic communication tool.

“So many people in our area,”said Ricks, “just cannot function because they do not know English. This program is going a long way towards solving that handicap, primarily to Hispanic residents of the area. And teaching them are volunteer instructors, some of which live in Pelican Landing.

“It’s people who really want to learn to speak English and become functioning, contributing members of society. But without English, they really can’t. It’s a wonderful thing because they want to get a job and improve themselves, they want to work, they don’t want to be in public assistance.”

The organization also trains the tutors who give the instruction.

One example of what the Literacy Council has done is found at Pelican’s Nest, the golf club of Pelican Landing. At Pelican’s Nest, workers are offered an arrangement whereby they work seven hours but are paid for an eight-hour day. The eighth hour is spent in a Literacy Council classroom learning English. “It’s a wonderful way for them to get literacy training,” said Ricks, who herself was a tutor with the Council last year. “It’s just another way for people who really want to improve themselves to become literate in this society.

“We hope our donation has helped.”

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