When you pack you gym bag next Saturday morning, stash a few extra bucks and treat yourself to some of the finest baked goods as a reward after your work out.

The Key West Island Gym is pre-heating the oven and rolling out the dough for a bake sale to sweeten the coffers of the Monroe County Special Olympics. Chefs and bakers from some of Key West’s finest restaurants and bakeries are donating their specialty-baked goods. You’ll also be able to buy the tasty confections of some of the island’s most-known business professionals

All funds raised will help offset travel costs for athletes ranging in ages from five to 70 heading to the state games. Last year, gym manager Debbie Blair reported more than $3,000 was raised to benefit the Special Olympics.

“There are so many causes out there right now, but this is one we really wanted to get involved with,” Blair explained.

The gym’s other manager, Sam Rike, spearheaded the effort last year and recruited local restaurants to participate.

“This is really Sam’s baby,” Blair said. “There’s not a lot of funding for them as there’s not a lot for anything these days. We hope to make this one of many fundraisers to help out the Special Olympics.”

Special Olympics is a non-profit organization that provides a variety of sports activities to the intellectually and developmentally disabled children and adults throughout the world.

“Here in Key West we provide a year-round program for our 60 athletes,” said former coach and current publicity chair Pamela Lindner.” Due to our geographical location, shortage of funds and volunteers, we have been limited to the amount of activities.”

In the steamy summer and fall months, a bowling competition is organized for the athletes. Track and Field events will begin in January and bocce tournaments will be held in February.

Even if you don’t want to devour the divine treats, you can still play a key role in the bake sale benefit next Saturday. Just whip up a batch of your favorite sugar cookies or frost some cupcakes to be sold, or come bid on an item in the silent auction.

Call Debbie or Sam at (305) 295-8222 at The Island Gym to let them know you want to help. You don’t have to be a Betty Crocker, just willing to help our Special Olympians! The sale will begin at 7 am at the Island Gym located at 1119 White Street.

“Even though money’s tight, we really hope to make this year’s bake sale as good if not better than last year,” Blair said enthusiastically.

Lindner said the Monroe County Special Olympics is looking for any businesses that may be interested in hosting similar fundraisers or offering sponsorships for athletes.

Anyone interested in volunteering or is interested in receiving information about upcoming events should contact Pat Hart, Volunteer Chair, at (305) 294-6109 or email Pamela Lindner at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Bill Smith, 66, took first place in the singles bowling competition and second place in doubles bowling challenge. He’s eagerly anticipating the Florida State games at the end of October.Bill Smith



Wendy Senical
Many of the county’s Special Olympians are also active members of the community. Wendy Senical has been employed by Publix in Key West for many years.Wendy Senical



Special Olympics Monroe County has 60 competing athletes. Twenty athletes are of school age. This year, 55 athletes (the most ever) competed in the local bowling championship.Bowling Awards


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