The St. John Paul II Food Pantry in Southbridge recently received a check for $5,000 from a distant stranger. At a recent Sturbridge Rotary Club meeting, Bill Pioppi and Co-Director Roberta Watson were presented with a check. The story unfolds during Rotary’s Annual Golf Classic at the Cohasse Country Club. A participant during the Classic learned about the great work that Sturbridge Rotary does to help the Food Pantry. The golf participant asked to learn more and to meet with folks at the Pantry. Once he learned more about the Pantry, he raised his donation to $5,000. He had two stipulations with his gift; one being that his name will remain anonymous, and two, the gift must support his passion to help the elderly in need. The Pantry will purchase gift cards with his donation to be used solely for the elderly who qualify. Sturbridge Rotary was happy to help facilitate the donation which started out with a casual conversation while playing golf.
L to R: Bill Pioppi, Roberta Watson – both from the JPII Food Pantry; Bill Lemke, Golf Classic Committee; Klaus Hachfeld, Sturbridge Rotary President; Austin Jenkins, Golf Classic Committee
Bill Pioppi and Co-Director Roberta Watson both from the St. John Paul II Food Pantry.
It was a beautiful day with nearly a full slate of players for the annual Rotary Charity Golf Classic at Cohasse Country Club on Monday, August 26. With a sponsored lunch on the course, lots of prizes, an active bar for adult beverages, a great featured guest of Boston Celtics and Hall of Fame Legend, Tom “Satch” Sanders and a fabulous prime rib dinner, what more could one ask for. Winners of the Golf Classic for the third year in a row are Bob Dean, John Kingston, Joe Legendre, Jordan Dean.
We are grateful to all who played and to our many, many sponsors (see list) who supported this Golf Classic. The profit from this event will benefit many adults, students, those with food insecurity, and support for many programs of local organizations. Rotary…helping our communities while practicing the ideal of “Service Above Self”.
Tom (Sach) Sanders
Thanks to all our sponsors!
Tonight we had the pleasure of hosting Emma O’Coin whom we sponsored to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Conference (RYLA) in June. Another student we sponsored, Rebecca Mahon, was unable to attend this evening with Emma. Emma was one of over 200 students from 50 Clubs in Rotary District 7910 to attend the 3-day conference at Fitchburg State University. Geared primarily on leadership training, the sophomore students learned conflict management, problem solving, important communication skills with lots of breakout sessions and presentations. Emma shared her experiences on everything she learned,the challenges of the programs, the friends she made and expressed interest in being a program facilitator next year.
For the third year in a row Sturbridge Rotary together with the Sturbridge Lions and the Parks and Recreation Committee cosponsored a free concert on the Sturbridge Common. Returning was Dan Gabel and The Abletones, an 18-piece band that plays the swinging sounds of the 1940s. The Moon Maids made their first appearance this year singing a number of songs from the 40s and reminiscent of other female vocal groups of that era. We even witnessed a local couple dancing in the street to the swing music. A large crowd gathered on this perfect evening and most were keeping time to the music!
Sturbridge Rotary sponsored two Tantasqua students to attend the recent Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Conference (RYLA) held at Fitchburg State University. Over 200 sophomore students from 50 Clubs in Rotary District 7910 attend the 3-day conference that includes presentations, activities and workshops on Leadership, Ethics, Communication Skills, Problem Solving, Conflict Management, Community & Global Citizenship. These students engage in small and large groups sessions ending with a celebration and presentations on what they’ve learned from attending.
Students sponsored this year are Rebecca Mahon and Emma O’Coin. These students will attend a future Rotary meeting to share their experiences with Club members. Ainsley Maus from Tantasqua was sponsored by the Brookfield Rotary Club. Since 1993, Sturbridge Rotary has contributed $11,110 to sponsor local students attending RYLA.
L to R: Becca Mahon, Emma O’Coin, Ainsley Maus
Sturbridge Rotary has been awarding scholarships each year to students since 1974 with a cumulative total of $207,210. Recipients this year from Tantasqua Regional High School are Madison Porter, Thomas Goodwin, Andrew Houle, Ryan Kievra, Tyler Pourmand, Caitlyn Mills.
An additional award was presented from the Wendell Wright Scholarship Fund to Chloe Powell. This award is presented in memory of Wendell whose wife is a Sturbridge Rotarian.
All recipients were invited recently to attend a Rotary meeting at which they each shared information about themselves, their goals and inspirations.
The 6th Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser to benefit the St. John Paul II Food Pantry and held recently. Attendees enjoyed appetizers, a great meal, raffles, and dancing. As part of the festivities, a check for $3,000 was presented to the Rev. Kenneth Cardinale for the Pantry. The Pantry serves over 400 families each month so this donation will be put to good use to feed families in need. To date, the Sturbridge Rotary Club has raised $18,000 from the Dinner Dances for this worthy cause. Shown presenting the check is Club President Austin Jenkins and Rev. Cardinale.
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.
L to R: President Austin, Kim Jenkins, PDG Klaus & Glenys Hachfeld, PP Dave Zonia.
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.
Bob DeFosse, owner of Fresh Flours Bead Company spoke with us about his passion for making organic bread . Bob had a booth this past summer at the Sturbridge Farmers Market and sold out quickly each week. He also makes weekly deliveries to the Publick House and Ted’s.
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.
Our Fall fundraiser which raises funds to support scholarships for Tantasqua students.
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.
Lois receiving an SRC mug from President Austin.
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.
President Austin presents the check to Lisa.
Several volunteers recently attended the Tantasqua Craft Fair talking with attendees about the CFC garden’s very successful first year. We heard lots of enthusiasm about the project and several signed up to help.
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!
Head Cabbage Joe harvesting potatoes.