Several Rotarians helped again this year with the distribution of food, turkey vouchers, toys and gift cards for which Rotary donated funds. All of these items were added to other gifts donated by school families and community members. Rotary worked with Lisa Meunier, school nurse at Burgess, who identified 40 Burgess families (impacting 150 individuals) going through difficult times this Christmas. The St. John Paul II Food Pantry delivered the 40 boxes of food to Burgess and the rest of the items donated were added to the boxes. Rotarians and Burgess staff members helped deliver the boxes to the cars of the recipients. While we have given this donation previously, this was our second year with hands-on delivery of the food, cards and gifts. Our efforts gave us a much closer look at the impact of our humanitarian work as Rotarians and it’s very rewarding.
Heather Weston, Director of the Sturbridge Senior Center spoke with us about Sturbridge becoming a dementia-friendly community. Her discussion included a comparison of the normal aging process versus Alzheimer’s Disease. She also explained the 10 early signs and symptoms of dementia. Heather’s plan was presented at a community Town Meeting and has been followed by training sessions with various Sturbridge Departments, restaurants, banks and churches. Further, the Senior Center holds a Memory Cafe every month which is sponsored by different organizations, corporations or individuals in the community. The Cafe offers Arts & Crafts, music, ice cream social, singing, dancing and other interactive events. The Cafe is proving to be a huge success.
It is with great pride that we recognize two more individuals as Paul Harris Fellows (PHF). Otto Prohaska, PhD has been a member of Sturbridge Rotary since 2012 and served as president in the 2016-17 Rotary year. Otto was recognized with his second PHF pin. At Otto’s side is his wife, Julie, who received her first PHF recognition. With the addition of Otto and Julie, Sturbridge Rotary has a total of 70 individuals who have received the PHF recognition with 21 of them having received it more than once. Congratulations to Otto and Julie!
It’s always a great pleasure to have PDG Jim Fusco visit the Club. Following the interactive discussion on membership, Jim reviewed the success of the Community Food Collaborative (CFC) as a joint project with the Southbridge Club through the Rotary Community Corps (RCC). The CFC garden is a great first project for the RCC and the success of the garden in its first year is very impressive and a great project for the Club to build upon.
WE HAVE A WINNER !!!!!!
The drawing for the winner of the basket with $1,000 worth of lottery tickets was drawn at the Rotary meeting tonight. All 1,000 lottery tickets were sold at $10 each. We are happy to announce the winner is a woman from Southbridge with ticket number 0765. She will attend the meeting next week to claim her prize! CONGRATULATIONS!!!
The Sturbridge Rotary Club has donated over $190,000 in scholarship money over the last 46 years. We could not do this without the help from all of you who bought tickets from us each year. We want to thank you for all your support to award students scholarships toward their college education.
Lois A. Breault-Melican, Chapter President of the American Chestnut Foundation of MA & RI, presented the history of the American Chestnut Tree from the Chinese blight that nearly wiped out the chestnut trees to the experimental program to bring this amazing tree back to the forests. Lois reviewed the different aspects of the initiative and the progress being made including the experimental Chestnut Tree farm at Tantasqua Jr. High School.
Roberta Watson, director of the St. John Paul II Food Pantry, visited the Club and summarized the amount of fresh, organic vegetables delivered to the Food Pantry by the Community Food Collaborative (CFC). The total yield was 1,524 pounds from 20 different vegetables. Favorites by the recipients were cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, zucchini, watermelons and winter squash. Roberta noted 831 people, which includes 164 seniors, each month appreciated the efforts of the CFC in an average of 310 households.
Lisa Meunier was presented with a check to help in her efforts to provide gifts and turkey dinners to families and their children who are in need during this Holiday Season. Lisa shared statistics of those experiencing difficult times and challenging physical and emotional health, all of which is being addressed by Burgess School and its staff.
Members of the Club spent another afternoon selling chances to win a basket of Lottery Tickets worth $1,000. This time they attended the Craft Fair at Tantasqua Regional High School. We printed 1,000 tickets and started selling them in early September. When we arrived at the Craft Fair we had a little over 100 tickets left to sell and SOLD OUT within a few hours. All proceeds from the ticket sales are used for scholarships for Tantasqua students pursuing a college degree. Our thanks to everyone who bought a ticket(s) for this very worthwhile local cause. The drawing for the winner will be held in early December. Stay tuned to hopefully see your name as the winner!!
It was really good weather late yesterday afternoon when we completed the harvest of potatoes followed by the fall cleanup. It was bittersweet to put the garden “to bed” for the winter after such an active and successful growing season. Ten of us worked for over an hour to get everything cleaned up and to put the tools away. We are anxious to get the final tally from the St. John Paul II Food Pantry on how many pounds of fresh organic vegetables we produced this season to help those in need of food.
We aren’t resting over the winter. The Board of Directors are having their first meeting next week to start organizing and prioritizing the ‘To Do’ list for next year. Thank you to Head Cabbage Joe, Klaus, Glenys, Pauline, Jim, Bob, Bill B., Eunice, Karen and Bill P. who helped last night. We also want to thank our sponsors and donors whose generosity helped us get the supplies we needed to start the Community Food Collaborative. Lastly, we’d also like to thank our 90+ volunteers who have given us encouragement and support all season. Rest up this winter everyone because we’ll need your help again next season as we bring the garden back to life – bigger and better!
Joe Coan, President (a.k.a. Head Cabbage) of the Community Food Collaborative (CFC) spoke with the Club recently about the first year of the garden. The garden is located near the lower back parking lot behind the Sturbridge Town Hall. Joe gave us a history on the plans, development and progress along the way. Everyone on the board, Joe and many volunteers worked hard on everything that needed to be done this first year. The yield from the garden surpassed our expectations leaving us with a challenge to expand next year in an effort to increase our yield. To date we have delivered over 1,500 pounds of fresh organic vegetables to the St. John Paul II Food Pantry and we still have to deliver the potatoes. We have a long “To Do” list this winter after we put the garden to bed. Our final work night is this Thursday after which we’ll celebrate our success. Joe acknowledged and thanked the board members, our sponsors, donors and all our volunteers who helped us this year. Keep checking our Facebook page for updates. https://www.facebook.com/CFCGardens/. If you’d like to be put on the volunteer list for next year, contact us at CFCGarden357@gmail.com.
Joe (left) is shown with Rotary President Austin Jenkins.
The Sturbridge Rotary Club awarded $5,000 to The Barton Center for Diabetes Education, 30 Ennis Road in North Oxford, MA. The donation was used to support expenses associated with operating their programs including medical expenses, supplies, food, and so much more.
“We are fortunate to be the recipient of Sturbridge Rotary’s gift,” said Lindsay McCarthy, Associate Director, Director of Grants and Events. “Rotary understands the impact felt by children with diabetes.”
The mission of The Barton Center is to improve the lives of children with insulin-dependent diabetes through education, recreation and support programs which inspire and empower. For over 86 years, The Barton Center has provided a summer-long residential camp program for children with type 1 diabetes at Clara Barton Camp. The Barton Center significantly expanded its services in 2010 to include a second residential camp, Camp Joslin, in Charlton, MA. The Barton Center also operates an adventure program, family camp, Vermont Overnight Camp, day camps in NY, CT and MA, and a wide array of year-round educational programs for children, families, and caregivers. All Barton programs promote proper diabetes management and health enhancement strategies in a safe environment.
“We’re happy to help support The Barton Center with funds from our Educational Trust account,” said Rotary Past-President Bob White. “One of Sturbridge Rotary’s areas of focus is youth which also includes support for managing health issues. Barton offers so many programs to help children with diabetes that funding toward their efforts was a perfect fit for us.”
Sturbridge Rotary recently honored Rotarian and Sturbridge resident Dorothy Wright with a second Paul Harris Society recognition for her service to the community and support of the Rotary Foundation.
A former educator, Dorothy takes a special interest in fostering learning. She delivers dictionaries to grade school students and provides reading materials to veterans and and senior centers. Dorothy served on the Board of Directors of the Joshua Hyde Public Library in Sturbridge for several years. Dorothy also created an annual scholarship for a graduating Tantasqua scholar in the name of her late husband Wendell.
The Paul Harris Fellowship is Rotary International’s highest recognition. It is given to Rotarians and community volunteers for sustained and exceptional service that improves our communities and the world, and for significant financial support of the Rotary Foundation.
The Rotary Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to advancing world understanding, goodwill, and peace. It is funded solely by contributions from members and friends of Rotary and consistently is rated in the top 10 by Charity Navigator.
Seen in the photo are Sturbridge Rotarians Dorothy Wright, Past District Governor Carl Kaliszewski, and Treasurer Lorraine Herbert.
In case you missed it, here is the link to a great story on the front page of the Quaboag Current about the success of the Community Food Collaborative Garden.
The latest batch of vegetables harvested over the weekend. Much more continues growing. We also need to harvest butternut squash and potatoes when they’re ready.
Last Friday, a group of Sturbridge Rotarians teamed up with school and community volunteers on projects that improved our communities and fostered community engagement and cooperation. Sponsored by the United Way of Southbridge, Sturbridge and Charlton as a “Day of Caring”, teams of Rotarians and volunteers spanned out across the region to work on a diverse group of projects.
Rotarians planted trees. Sponsored by the Middle School, the “Tantasqua American Chestnut Research Orchard” is part of a nationwide effort to restore Chestnut trees in this country. Most of our native trees were destroyed by blight years ago, and now several variations of blight resistant hybrid trees have been planted and will be monitored in the orchard. Soon, we once again will be roasting chestnuts over open fires.
An even larger group of Rotary volunteers delivered refreshments to the various work teams throughout the day. This group may have had one of the most challenging and appreciated jobs of all; they helped keep the other volunteers going.
This morning we were excited to host a Press Event at the CFC garden to brag about how much the garden has produced so far this year, AND it’s still growing. Reporters from Stonebridge Press, The Citizen Chronicle and the Quaboag Current joined us. Fortunately we had put up a pop-up tent because it started to rain lightly when they arrived. However, the rain did not dampen our spirits. Joe, the Head Cabbage, told them everything we have done this year, our great volunteers, and all our sponsors and donors, and what our plans are for next year.
Bill Pioppi gave background info on the St. John Paul II Food Pantry and the Pantry’s director, Roberta Watson, gave her perspective of our project and how all the fresh organic veggies have created quite a stir of gratitude with the recipients. Roberta also reported that we have donated over 1,000 pounds of veggies so far and there is still more growing!!! We should all feel very proud about what we have done to bring this success story to life.