WORTHINGTON — Fundraising has been difficult for Sunset Hospice Cottage during the last several months as a result of COVID-19, making a recent donation from Worthington Elks 2287 very much appreciated.

The Elks presented a $3,500 donation to the cottage, which will support the endowment fund and help ensure all who desire care at the cottage can receive it.

“A member of the Elks board applied for this grant in the hopes of giving it to Hospice,” explained Dave Serrano, president of the Sunset Hospice Cottage board. “A lot of people on the Elks board are also involved with Hospice, and we’ve partnered with them on other things.”

Serrano said the two organizations had planned a Christmas Tree Walk event that had to be cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The cottage’s annual banquet — the organization’s primary fundraiser — also didn’t take place in 2020, nor did the yearly Christmas House Walk event.

“We had to cancel basically everything,” said Serrano, who has served on the cottage’s board for two years and became board president earlier this month. “We’re really blessed to receive this gift.”

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“Part of our mission is to serve the people and communities through benevolent programs, demonstrating that ‘Elks Care and Elks Share,’ said Pete Suby, exalted ruler of Worthington’s Elks. “When we give to the Sunset Hospice Cottage’s endowment fund, we know our gift is being used for the greatest benefit of the local community; 100% of donations go directly to local families and residents in need.”

Serrano said the cottage’s endowment fund is used exclusively for families who may not have the resources to support their loved ones in their final chapter of life.

“If people are in need, we don’t ever want to turn anyone away for the sake of the money,” he said. “If there’s a monetary need and they come to us, we will do everything in our power to make sure it happens.”

Since Christmas, almost 30% of the residents at the cottage are there thanks to the support of the endowment. The gift from the Elks enables this objective to be continued to even more residents in the future.

Serrano, who moved to Worthington with his wife in 2006, said he was immediately impressed by the local cottage and its advocates.

“My home was on the Tour of Homes (Christmas House Walk) about three years ago,” he recalled. “I got to meet a number of the volunteers, and there was so much enthusiasm for hospice and you could tell the people were just so energized by it. When I was invited to join the board, I was just so excited for the opportunity.”

The cottage board is also excited about current plans to host an outdoor fundraising banquet later this summer, with more details to be announced at a later date.

Gifts to Sunset Hospice Cottage are welcome at any time throughout the year. For more information, visit hospicecottage.com or call 1-866-655-1017.