Social development committee

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Many helping hands!

The Social Development Committee knows that human resources are its most valuable assets, it is important that the community have facilities and service which will provide for the well being and development of all people, with special concern for those with unique needs.


Helping the Lions Club

On December 9, 2022 the Abingdon Ruritan Club donated eye glasses to the Gloucester Lion’s Club. The Ruritans collected used eyeglasses from members throughout the year and presented 41 pair of prescription glasses and one hearing aide to(right) Rene Welz, President of Lions. Making the presentation is Abby Bowles and Lynn Onesty


Caring for Others

On November 8, 2022, the Social Development committee of the Abingdon Ruritan Club donate comfort cases to The Avalon Center of Gloucester. Three cases were donated, one for infants to 2 years of age, one for children ages 3 – 10 years old and one for children from 11 to teens. These items will meet the needs of new clients receiving services from Avalon Center.

Presenting the cases to Avalon Center Director of Community Engagement Leslie Jingluski are Abingdon Ruritan members Mitch Dunstan, Mike Ekdahl and Jhie Hale.
Comfort Cases (L to R) Ages 11 to teens, ages 3 to 10 years old, and Baby to 2years old.

Halloween Fun in G Town

The Social Development Committee volunteers participated with the Gloucester Main Street Halloween Fun.

Left to right: Lynn & Debra Jolly, Bunny Ekdahl, Sandra Jordan, & Mike Ekdahl
Participants Sandra Jordan and grandson
ARC volunteer Mike Ekdahl


FlapJack Breakfast

The Abingdon Ruritan Club hosted a Flapjack Breakfast Fund Raiser for the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD) on June 25, 2022.

The committees, Social Development and the Public Service Committees, raised a total of $2,400 and felt that this was a huge success.

1st Row: Betsy Tuttle, Julie Woolley, Debra Jolley (Vol), Jhie Hale, Will Hale, Don Sciria, Liz Simmons.
2nd Row: Bunny Ekdahl, Mike Ekdahl, Sandy Jordan, Marsha Weatherwax, Tony Dziadul, Krista O’Neil, Eva Tillage, Crystallynn Meeks (Vol).
3rd Row: Roger Dick, John Snyder, Bill Jordan, Betty Durrette (Vol), Jim Durrette, Wade Bunn, Frank Gillerlain, Dave Kyle
4th Row: Josie Lankford, Dianne Woolley, Wanda Sprouse, Janet Kyle.
Not Pictured: Jimmy Leiffer, Sandra Leiffer (Vol), Lynn Onesty

The serving crew consisted of 26 members and 4 volunteers. We would like to thank every one who bought and sold the breakfast tickets, and to our ARC members that volunteered for this event, you rock. What a turn out! Thank you!

Above Mitch Dunstan and wife Barbara Jean. Left is CHKD representative Ms. Kate

Winners of the CHKD raffle:

TV winner is Kim Lippard (not shown) her father, Kenny Knaub, picked up the TV for her. He said his daughter and children were so excited to win.

Grill winner James Forgarty. He was surprised he won – his wife purchased the raffle ticket without his knowledge. He was clueless and excited.



Avalon Center Donations

The Social Development Committee received a request from Avalon Center for toys and household furnishings. A call went out to the members for the donations and they responded in typical Ruritan fashion. Pictured in the photo are Mike Ekdahl left and Roger Dick on the right both club members delivering a dining room table and chairs which were donated by a Ruritan Club member. Children’s toys were delivered earlier in the day.

Mike Ekdahl and Roger Dick
Photos by Dean Marzocca

The Avalon Center works to end domestic and sexual violence by breaking the cycle of abuse through prevention, education, shelter and support services. The Avalon Center provides a safe space where separated couples can have supervised visitation with their children. There is an attempt to create a home like atmosphere to make the children more comfortable.

Not only are the Ruritans donating furniture and toys but they are also putting their talents to work. Next week members are going to paint a kitchen room before installing sinks and a dish washer.


Donations to the Gloucester Mathews Humane Society

Members of the Abingdon Ruritan Club collected dog and cat food / treats for the Gloucester Mathews Humane Society in October 2021. David Simmons, a Ruritan member delivered the needed food.


Donation to the Salvation

Chair Lynn Onesty, delivered donations from ARC members to the Salvation Army for families in need.


Helping the Community

The Social Development Committee has taken on a special project this summer doing yard work. Ruritan volunteers tidied up flower beds, did a little weeding and trimming, and ran a weed eater.

Picture on left is the before and the picture on the right is after the yard work was completed.

Thanks to all our volunteers: Jimmy Leiffer, David Onesty, Steve Brown, Andrea Crawford, Lynn Onesty
and new member Kristen Lochridge and her daughter.

Shown left to right: Front- Andrea Crawford & Lynn Onesty. Back- Steve Brown & Jimmy Leiffer



The Apple Tree Project assists in providing book bags and school supplies to foster children not only in Gloucester County, but also for the surrounding counties of Middlesex, Mathews, King and Queen, and King William.

Abingdon Ruritan members; Rick Helton (Gloucester Walmart Mgr.) and
Mitch Dunston with 19 book bags to donate.

This project supports children in foster care, as well as their foster parents in preparing children for the upcoming school year. It provides excitement for children who may be experiencing anxiety regarding the upcoming school year due to their placement in foster care or the possibility of children starting in a new and unfamiliar school. Receiving these school supplies helps children feel more confident and prepared to take on the school year, especially this school year, as children are transitioning back into the school environment after a year of completing virtual school due to COVID-19.


Gloucester Walmart hosted the CHKD Car Show that the Middle Peninsula Classic Cruisers Car Club coordinated. Great turn out; there was two food trucks and 27 vendors. The show raised over $5000.00 for the CHKD.

Raffle Booth for all donations from the community.

ARC Dick Beasley pulled his own ticket for the 65″ TV. He donated it back to be raffled a second time.

The following members and friends supported or helped out at the CHKD Car Show: Mitch Dunstan, Liz Onesty, Lynn Onesty, Wade Bunn, Josie Lankford, Bunny Ekdahl, Mike Ekdahl, Bob Stifel, Eva Tillage, Don Sciria, Barbara Priest, Walter Priest, Gary Bergtholdt, Janet Kyle, Dave Kyle, William Jordan, David Onesty, Andrea Crawford, Ron Bruce, Rose Taylor, Dick Beasley, Betsy Tuttle, Gene Medkiff, Rick Helton, and Debra Jolly.

The 1970 Ford F600 Dump Truck belongs to Mitch Dunstan.
1966 Mustang belongs to Mike Ekdahl.
1970 Chevy Chevelle SS belongs to Lynn Jolly.


Corvette Show

Three Corvette Clubs (Colonial Corvette, Gloucester-Mathews Corvette and Northern Neck Corvette Clubs) showed Corvettes of all ages at the Abingdon Ruritan Corvette Show – June 13th.

Collected during the show was monetary donations and non-perishable food or toiletry item to benefit county residents.

Corvettes for the Hungry food drive estimates 300-400 lbs and over $1200 raised.


Just because you have to stay indoors, doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun! That’s the motto of the Social Development Committee for the seniors who are stuck inside. ARC members and volunteers collected books, puzzles, games, and goodies for Jane Wenner, of the Gloucester County Emergency Management team, to distribute to local seniors.

Wade Bunn & Josie Langford delivered the items ARC donated for the seniors to Jane Wenner with Gloucester County Emergency Management. 


Community Involvement

As a community effort, the Ruritans worked with Helping the Homeless Ministry with Pastor Wendy to feed the needy. Ruritans picked blue berries, broccoli, kale, lettuce and beets from local farms. Local farmers donated all the goods, “They let us pick all we wanted so that we could donate them to Pastor Wendy’s organization to feed the homeless,” said Social Development Committee Chair, Lynn Onesty. Volunteers are Lynn Onesty, John Snyder, Rose Taylor and Diane Keller not shown.

Volunteers are (left to right) Rose Taylor, Sandra Hogge, Roger Dick,Josey Langford, and Lynn Onesty kneeling.

2020 Social Development Highlights

• Children’s Christmas Party 2019
• Assist with Meals on Wheels Delivery
• Volunteers to WHRO for Telethon Fundraisers
• Clam Chowder Sale to benefit local Boy Scout Troops
• Project with Habitat to Rebuild a roof & porch
• Collecting and distributing food to local churches
•Volunteered to assist cooking meals for the homeless at local churches
• Collecting food, books, puzzles for shut-ins
• Collecting masks and various supplies for students
• Volunteers picked garden vegetables and blueberry pickin’ to help feed the homeless
• Corvettes for the Hungry event collected food for distribution to a local food pantry

Volunteers Make WHRO Possible

Ruritans answering telephone calls from viewers pledging support to TV station WHRO during the station’s fund raising program.

Seated front row, left to right: Bill Jordan, Mike Ekdahl, Bunny Ekdahl,
Josie Lankford, Wade Bunn,. Back row: Don Sciria, and wife Poksun,
Dave Onesty and Lynn Onesty.


Food Donations from the Corvette’s for the Hungry Event

Abingdon Ruritans gathered a wealth of groceries for Gloucester County Emergency Management and raised $1,300 for their own charitable efforts with a Corvettes for the Hungry car show, food drive, and fundraiser, held at the clubhouse on Guinea Road in Bena. Thirty-four Corvettes showed up, belonging to members of the Colonial Corvette Club and the Gloucester-Mathews Corvette Club.

Food Donations from the Corvette’s for the Hungry Event. Shown is Pete Shepherd and Lynn Onesty

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Gloucester Point Beach Gazebo Clean Up

Gloucester Point Beach Clean -up:

Bunny and Mike Ekdahl, Don Sandridge and Charlie Lewis.  participated in this project.

The team power washed the Gazebo and the long ramp and railings that lead from the parking lot to the Gazebo.


Christmas is Still On!

Each year we put on a Christmas Party for the local children featuring Santa and Rudy Bear with a cake walk and gifts along with crafts and games, serving cookies, ice cream and punch for the guests. With COVID this year we could not hold this party, so we found local organizations that would be able to distribute the toys we had collected to the community. Pictured here is Mike Ekdahl and Lynn Onesty delivering toys, with Gary Ripple from the Boys and Girls Club of Gloucester. Bunny Ekdahl taking the picture.


Share the Warmth

The Abingdon Ruritan Club’s Social Development Committee, chaired by Mike Ekdahl, partnered with the Gloucester Salvation Army to collect and donate gently used coats to the Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg.  Bill Parks coordinated the Salvation Army’s effort. A total of 92 coats were donated with 43 coming from the Ruritan Club and 49 from the Salvation Army.

Pictured from left are Foster, Sirmans, Evans and Ekdahl.