Upcoming benefits on Marco include a Feb. 20 one-mile walk to combat ALS, a Moose Lodge autism fundraiser Feb. 28, and a March 3 gala evening to help special education students obtain appliances for their café at Lely High.

ALS walk this Sat., Feb. 20

Mary Jo O’Regan has organized the walk for 10 a.m. this Saturday, Feb. 20 at Mackle Park to honor a friend battling ALS. The walk will benefit the ALS Florida Chapter. Her friend’s name is Cindy Amerine.

“She is a living angel, and since her diagnosis (in 2014) she is determined to stay positive. She wrote a song called, “The ALS Odyssey Anthem,” aimed at inspiring researchers and uplift those affected by ALS,” O’Regan said. For information, call O’Regan at 324-1770.

Moose Lodge combats autism

Sunday, Feb. 28 sees the autism fundraiser, to be held at the Moose Lodge #1990 between 1 and 5p.m. All are welcome, said publicity committee member Rene Asuncion. The Lodge is on Marco Lake Drive near Marco Polo Restaurant.

Helping special education students

Bistro Soleil hosts a party Thursday March 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. to help Lely High School’s special education class with the purchase of appliances, a classroom remodel, and maybe a dream trip to Disney in Orlando.

The evening is staged by the Island Angels, whose founder Paula Cummings wants to support the efforts of Marco Islander and special education teacher Nicole Cholka.

Nicole teaches in a self-contained classroom consisting of seven students with moderate cognitive and physical impairments. The students range in age from 14 to 22 years old, and are truly the most kind-hearted, inspirational young adults you will ever meet,” Cummings said.

Part of Cholka's curriculum involves running a Breakfast Cafe out of the kitchen in the back of their classroom. Every morning, the students and Nicole cook breakfast for staff at the school. Students learn important life skills such as answering phones and emails, taking orders, cooking, cleaning, laundry, cash register skills, delivering meals, and grocery planning and purchasing.

Tickets for the evening, which includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, are $25 per person. Buy them at the door, or RSVP to or call Cummings at 920-660-6363.

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