Sunset Hospice Cottage gets $6,000 from Elks Lodge to kick off fundraising campaign

The Sunset Hospice Cottage marks its 20th anniversary this year; fundraising banquet is Saturday evening in Worthington.

Hospice donation
Sunset Hospice Cottage Directors Susanne Murphy (left) and Dave Serrano (center) accept a $6,000 donation from Elks Lodge 2287 Exalted Ruler David Janssen on March 21, 2023. The funds were received through a grant the Elks applied for, and members of the organization chose to give the money to the cottage, kicking off the annual fundraising campaign for cottage's endowment fund.
Photo contributed by Susanne Murphy

WORTHINGTON — The Sunset Hospice Cottage is off to the races with its annual fundraising campaign, receiving a $6,000 boost last week from the local Elks Lodge 2287. The Elks received the funds after applying for a grant, and voted to award the money to the cottage.

Food vendors open daily at 11 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
Food vendors to open at 11 a.m. Friday at Worthington's Sailboard Beach.
“Just come down and bring the kids, and we’ll have some fun activities planned,” Holinka said.

Sunset Hospice Cottage Inc. President Dave Serrano said the donation will go into the cottage’s endowment fund to assist families who otherwise can’t afford to place a loved one in the facility.

“I feel like this is the starting gun to get us out of the gate,” said Serrano, tying the Elks Lodge donation in with the Kentucky Derby theme for this Saturday’s Sunset Hospice Cottage fundraising banquet. Attendees are encouraged to wear big hats or bow ties and related Derby attire for the occasion. Doors open at 5 p.m., with the program to begin shortly after 6 p.m.

“We’re going to play a game where you can buy a horse’s name for $10, and we’ll have some cool prizes for that,” said Susanne Murphy, one of 13 directors serving on the hospice cottage board. “It’s going to be a night of entertainment.”

“The goal is to put on a great event and we know it’s going to do well for the cottage; it always has,” added Serrano. “The community support is phenomenal for this event and the cottage.”


While tickets for the banquet have sold out, individuals may make a financial gift to the locally-owned nonprofit to support its mission at any time. Donations can be mailed to Sunset Hospice Cottage, P.O. Box 203, Worthington.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Sunset Hospice Cottage, though the endowment was established just seven years ago.

“We dreamed about it long before,” said Murphy.

With the endowment in place, Serrano said the board hasn’t turned anyone away for end-of-life care. The daily cost for one of the cottage’s four rooms is $170, which doesn’t include medical care.

A majority of the money raised during Saturday night’s banquet will go into the endowment fund. The fundraising event features more than 100 silent auction items and nearly 20 live auction items. The live auction features everything from charcuterie boards and wine cabinets to a diamond necklace and beef bundle.

“... Why didn’t we table the discussion on something that they came forward with and said at the very beginning, ‘we’ve never done this in Nobles County before,’" Carol added.
“It’s a great school, it’s almost like a family. I really connect with these kids here. I just have a lot of love in my heart for these kids.”
“I’ve not had one person talk to me and say ‘Boy, that’s a huge safety concern. We need to spend a bunch of county funds to improve that.’”

Numerous experiences will also be auctioned, including a one-week stay at a 1,200-square-foot condo in Sun Valley, Idaho; an upstairs/downtown Worthington tour led by Mike Woll; a backyard barbecue by the waterfall; dinner in the wild; a guided day of fishing; a one-hour scenic flight over Worthington; a rental “At the Barn;" an in-home wine tasting and dinner; and naming rights to the next beer produced by Forbidden Barrel Brewery in downtown Worthington.

This year marks the cottage’s 16th fundraising banquet, and Murphy said they’ve been very fortunate to set new records in donations each year.

“In 2022, we set a record by quite a lot in terms of the amount we were able to fund, which was awesome,” she said.


Last year, they provided $45,000 in financial assistance from the endowment fund for individuals to spend their last days in the cottage.

“We’ve received so many thank you letters from families,” shared Serrano, in his fourth year on the board and third year as its president. “It’s so great to hear. It’s why we do what we do.”

He said the cottage averages close to three beds filled per month, and there are times when there is a waiting list.

Worthington’s Sunset Hospice Cottage is the only community-owned hospice cottage in Minnesota. Its board of directors serve as caretakers of the cottage, while Sanford Health is contracted to provide for the medical needs of those who stay at the cottage.

“The Elks have been just a fantastic partner to the cottage,” said Murphy. “They have made a number of significant donations.

“The cottage is important to the community and it really shows,” she added.

The directors of Sunset Hospice Cottage are planning a separate event to celebrate the cottage’s 20th anniversary. A hamburger and ice cream social is planned Aug. 24, and will be open to the public. People are welcome to come and tour the cottage during that event.

For more information, visit and follow the cottage on Facebook.


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