Sunday, October 17, 2021

Big-hearted Italian American Club



Recently the Italian American Club handed out $5000.00 to various area charities.  Don Henderson received a check for $500.00 on behalf of the American Cancer Society, from Italian American Club president, Roy Depizzol. According to Don, the money will go to their fund for ‘R.O.C.K. Camp’ which stands for ‘Reaching out to cancer kids’. It’s a week- long camp for children, as well as their parents, “so they can do things all kids want to do” said Don. Besides the ACS, the club donated money to Bedtime Bundles, St. Matthew’s House, Shelter for Abused women, Collies Anemia Foundation, Avow Hospice, the local Kiwanis Club and Toys for Tots. It brought about a question …just what is the Italian American Club of Marco Island?  Past President John DeRosa explained:

The club started on Marco Island back in 1983, it has grown from a small group to over 200 members. It meets once a month from November to April. The meetings last about one hour followed by some type of Italian treat such as cannolis or pizza. A speaker is usually scheduled for three of the meetings. A member of the club, Prof. Grace Mannino also instructs members in learning the Italian language.

It should be interesting to note it was this club that actually laid the foundation for the Marco Island Senior Softball League that exists today with over 160 members. Members John Arceri, Tony Mistretta and others started the league as a coed league that just became very popular and grew into an all male league.

The club has many events each year including an annual cruise, Holiday Dinner Dance, Sweetheart Ball, dinners prepared by members that serve over 100 people, luncheons and other events.

The club also has a bocce league which ends each year with a tournament attended by at least 20 different teams. This is just a terrific challenging game.

Each year the club through fundraising which includes cake sales, 50/50 raffles, dinner and music events give donations to various charities including American Cancer Society, Center for Abused Women and Children, Hospice, Coast Guard Auxiliary and others. The club also gives a scholarship each year to a student studying Italian Culture

One of the main events each year is the decorating and lighting of the Christmas tree. Back in 2001 the club felt that Marco should have a Christmas Tree for all people to enjoy. Through fundraising and private donations from club members the tree you see today at Veterans Park was purchased by the club for approximately $10,000.00. Each year the club along with the Christmas Island Style Committee buys new ornaments to keep the tree looking beautiful. Annually, over 25 members of the club gather to decorate the tree the Monday after Thanksgiving. The club is the owner of the tree and the city has always stored and maintained the tree along with Condee Electric.

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