Pasco News

CARES Elfers Center boosters exceed fundraising goal

CARES Elfers Center officials asked booster club members to raise donations to help keep the doors open at the center at 4136 Barker Drive.

The supporters topped their goal by a wide margin, raising more than $15,000, CARES CEO Bill Aycrigg announced.

Some 100 people at a recent town hall meeting applauded the news about the Booster Campaign.

“The CARES board of directors, center volunteers, participants and staff reaffirmed their commitment to work with the Pasco County Government to assure the sustainability and continuity of CARES Elfers Center programs and services,” Aycrigg stated.

In May, one year after its grand reopening, CARES Elfers Center was running into a financial bind that could have led to reduction in hours or higher fees for many programs.

To help erase a $30,000 deficit, CARES appealed to supporters to buy a Booster Club Card with an annual fee of $50.

CARES also is stepping up efforts to find sponsors for specific activities or rooms, at the $500 or $1,000 level in the historic former schoolhouse building. The center could use long-term legacy gifts that offer tax reductions.

“We Can’t Spell S-ccess Without U,” a banner reads on a CARES Elfers Center flyer.

CARES covered some losses last year after the 1914 schoolhouse building reopened in May 2013, Aycrigg recalled. Pasco County owns the building, which CARES leases.

Elfers Center was shuttered for nearly eight years to fix structural problems and renovate the 100-year-old structure.

The center offers many activities at night and weekends, which means more overhead to keep the lights on and other expenses.

The center typically experiences a summer slowdown in the number of visitors as snowbird residents return to northern homes.

In other news, Aycrigg reported that Elfers Center Director Evie Parks has left to become district secretary for state Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey.

“We are excited for Evie despite our loss of a leader,” Aycrigg said, according to a CARES press release. Parks took the helm in December 2012 to guide efforts toward the grand reopening in May 2013.

The number of visitors had quadrupled in recent times. Parks had guided 94 volunteers who worked 3,849 hours to serve 9,544 participants, Aycrigg underscored.

Until another director is named, the Elfers Center activities will be coordinated by Program Assistant Cindy Durkee, and volunteer coordination will be led by Charlotte Pandolfo.

The center strives to enrich the lives and minds of older adults through a wide offering of social, recreational, wellness, computer learning and other educational programs. For information, call (727) 847-1290 or visit

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