Tropic Winds Resident Manages Baking, Quilting Projects for Tropic Winds Volunteer Group
by Rocio Villalobos
Every Thursday morning, Ronnie Schutz can be found in the Tropic Winds RV Resort Community Hall kitchen baking dozens of cookies for Friday’s Jam.
Prior to retirement and moving permanently to the Rio Grande Valley from Virginia with her husband, Schutz worked as a cook for Project Hope, a global health and humanitarian-relief organization. So baking treats with a group of volunteers she leads--called the Ladies Community Service--for the entire park to enjoy makes her happy.
“We do six kinds of cookies, and we do double-batch as well,” Schutz said. “I love baking cookies, baking bread, just cooking. And it’s not always following a recipe. It’s usually a little bit of this, a little bit of that.”
Schutz and her husband prefer southern food, and some of her favorite dishes to make include pork chops, cornbread and beans, and liver and onions. Schutz adds they are one of the few couples at Tropic Winds that eats most of their meals at home.
In addition to volunteering in the park’s kitchen as part of Ladies Community Service, Schutz manages a crafts group that meets once a week, also on Thursdays, to make quilts for a local crisis center.
“I call it their gossip time because they sit and do their work and gossip,” she said. “It’s a good way for people to get together.”
The center distributes the quilts to abused women and children, which Schutz said is a cause she and the volunteers are happy to support.
“It hasn’t happened to me, but I’ve seen people who have gone through it, and it makes me happy to know they get a little bit of security,” she said. “It’s an absolutely wonderful feeling.”
Over the 10 years she’s been involved, Ladies Community Service has donated more than 1,000 quilts, and each week, the group of seven women can finish up to six new quilts.
To raise money to buy fabric and materials, they sell 50/50 tickets at the jams and raffle tickets to win a quilt during the park’s once-a-month craft show. Schutz said these events typically raise about $500 per month, and it all goes back into Ladies Community Service.
Although most of her family is back in Virginia and in other states across the country, Schutz said she feels right at home in Harlingen and her roughly 800 neighbors are like a second family.
“It has just all fallen into place,” she said.
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