At ‘BBQ Bash,’ an appetite to assist St. Francis Manor

Katie Kowanic, Linda Scott and Gwen Zorc Lamothe [Photo: Mary Schenkel]

Bandanas and boots were all the rage at the recent All-American Country BBQ Bash at and to benefit St. Francis Manor of Vero Beach, which provides much-needed affordable housing for seniors on a limited income.

Folks kicked up their heels to the country and southern rock sounds of Spayed Koolie and enjoyed some finger-lickin’ barbecue with all the fixins’ compliments of Sunrise Rotary Vero Beach and a host of other sponsors.

As he oversaw the grilling of the delicious fare, Jim Thompson, a 62-year member of the Rotary Club, noted that he has seen an immense increase in the need for affordable senior housing since his family moved to Vero Beach in 1937.

“The Rotary supports St. Francis because they provide a service that’s needed. As people get older, they need a place where they can live independently,” he explained.

Inside the community room, an assortment of raffle items, a cork pull, 50/50 drawing, Chinese and silent auctions tempted attendees to try their luck at obtaining the wide variety of goodies. Outside, checkered table cloths and cowboy hat centerpieces dotted the bucolic setting, and young and old alike were drawn to the manor’s large pond to feed the fish and turtles with supplied food pellets.

Folks attend the annual gathering to support the nonprofit’s efforts to provide independent apartment living to limited-income seniors ages 62 and older in an attractive, safe and socially supportive environment. Proceeds from the BBQ Bash help to sustain operational expenses.

Founded in 1974, St. Francis Manor has been home to more than 1,000 residents over the years and currently provides housing to 120 residents. Despite the major expansion that was completed last year, which added 18 efficiency units, there is still a waiting list of more than 100 people.

“More than just a place to live, St. Francis is a family. The people who live here look out for each other,” said Katie Kowanic, interim executive director. “There is still a huge need right now in this community.”

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Photos by: Mary Schenkel
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