Rotary Park Still Blooming

Every week or so something is blooming in Rotary Park. The majestic alliums are currently greeting the passers-by. The ornamental grass and the hostas are hoping for attention too! Stop by to see what may be next to blossom.

Park Alliums1 - June 6, 2018

Park Alliums2 - June 6, 2018

Park Ornamental Grass, Hosta - June 6, 2018


Fundraiser Helps Food Pantry

The Fifth Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser to benefit the St. John Paul II Food Pantry was held recently by the Sturbridge Rotary Club.  Rev. Kenneth Cardinale accepted a check for $3,000 with his gratitude.  “The Food Pantry serves an average of 400 families every month and this check will certainly help in the challenge to feed these families in need,” said Rev. Cardinale.  “We are fortunate to have individuals, young people, companies and organizations such as Sturbridge Rotary that hold fundraisers for this growing need we face,” stressed the Reverend.

This year a new initiative was launched with the Community Food Collaborative (CFC).  The CFC is a community garden in Sturbridge that is growing fresh, organic vegetables, all of which will be donated to the Food Pantry.  The CFC is overseen by the Rotary Corps of Sturbridge and Southbridge.

“We are committed to the Food Pantry and the great work that it does.  Hunger is a real issue today and we want to do our part to help alleviate it,” noted Past-President Austin Jenkins, who with his wife Kim, organizes the Dinner Dance fundraiser each year.  To date, the Sturbridge Rotary Club has raised $15,000 from the Dinner Dances for this worthy cause.

President Dave Zonia, Rev. Cardinale, PP Austin Jenkins.

President Dave Zonia, Rev. Cardinale, PP Austin Jenkins.

DD Rev. Ken Cardinale1

DD Raffle Prizes1

DD Raffle Prizes2

DD Desserts on 6-1-2018


Ready to Plant at the CFC Garden

What a productive morning we had at the CFC Garden. After two Saturdays of rain, we finally got to top dress all the growing beds with rich loam and started to spread wood chips in the aisles. It was hot weather but we drank a lot of water and kept working. Thanks to our volunteers and committee members who worked so hard. It looks great! Time to finish planting now.

May 26 Klaus, Joe loam

May 26 Dave, Klaus wheelbarrow

May 26 Break time

May 26 Spreading wood chips

May 26 Water hose1

Update on the Rotary Foundation

Our own PDG and PP Carl (The Hat) Kaliszewski spoke with us about the benefits of Rotary Foundation.  Carl serves as Chairman of the Club’s Rotary Foundation Committee.  He reviewed the history and facts, stressing the importance of each member donating in order to be / remain a sustaining member of the Foundation.

During the past 100 years, the Foundation has spent $3 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.  The Foundation has six causes supported by members in 35,000 clubs.  These causes are:  Promoting Peace, Providing Clean Water, Saving Mothers and Children, Supporting Education, Growing Local Economies, and Fighting Disease.

In the ‘Fighting Disease’ cause, a child can be protected from polio for as little as 60 cents.  And for every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $2.  So far, 99.9 percent of all polio cases have been wiped out.

And, 91% of the funds donated to the Foundation are spent directly on service projects and programs making lives better in our local communities and around the world.  Carl urged us to participate and to do so generously.

2009-10 Pres Carl Kaliszewski

Center of Hope

Cindy Howard, Executive Vice President and COO spoke with us recently about the history of The Arc and the Center of Hope Foundation which provides a litany of services to people with disabilities and their families.  They also provide the resources needed to help them achieve a fulfilling and meaningful life.  Cindy also discussed the 16 small businesses that have been created over the years to meet the requirements of their customers as well as the needs of over 700 people served in the Central MA and Northeast CT areas.  Their most recent business is a commercial kitchen which will be launching in the next couple of weeks.  The Center of Hope is a well known organization with a strong reputation for providing skills training, job placement, and on-the-job support services to the individuals in their care.

Cindy Howard - COH - May 14,2018

President Dave Zonia with Cindy Howard.

President Dave Zonia with Cindy Howard.

Old Sturbridge Village

Rotary member Jim Donahue, CEO of Old Sturbridge Village, reviewed the museum’s five focus areas with us.  History is at the core of OSV but to support history is conservation, education, preservation and aspiration.  They are being very creative and forward-thinking in their pursuit of each focus area as he elaborated on each one.  OSV is a real treasure and it’s important for each of us to support their efforts.

Jim Donahue - May 7, 2018

President Dave presents Jim with a Rotary mug.

President Dave presents Jim with a Rotary mug.

Fifth Annual Dinner Dance Fundraiser

The Sturbridge Rotary Club is hosting a Dinner Dance on Friday, June 1 at the Cohasse Country Club in Southbridge from 6:00 to 10:00 PM.  Proceeds from the Dinner Dance will benefit the Saint John Paul II Food Pantry located in Southbridge, MA.

Established in 1991, the Food Pantry provides emergency food assistance to qualified residents of Southbridge and Sturbridge.  An average of 400 families are served every month.  That’s over 70 tons of food distributed annually in these two communities.  While some food is supplied by the Worcester County Food Bank and by generous local grocery stores, the Food Pantry is dependent upon local financial contributions to continue serving those in need.

While this is our fifth year of hosting a Dinner Dance, Sturbridge Rotary has taken another step to further help the Food Pantry.  They have partnered with Southbridge Rotary and created the Community Food Collaborative (CFC) located in Sturbridge.  The CFC is a volunteer-based community garden growing fresh organic vegetables, all of which is being donated to the Food Pantry.

We invite you to join Sturbridge Rotary to demonstrate your commitment of helping to feed hungry people served by the Saint John Paul II Food Pantry.  Besides serving a buffet dinner, there will be dancing to the music of Sunshine Entertainment with DJ Chris Hookie.  Raffle prizes will also be available.  How long has it been since you’ve danced, had a great meal, socialized, perhaps won a prize, and helped a great cause – all in one evening?  Tickets are $50 per person or purchase a table of 8 for $350 and bring your friends.  To purchase tickets, contact Austin Jenkins at 508-347-6511 or for information.  Checks should be made payable to the Sturbridge Rotary Club.

Come prepared with your dancing shoes for a fun night out and for such a worthwhile cause!

Cold Crops Get Planted at the CFC Garden

In waiting for spring, the Chief Gardener, affectionately known as “Carrot Top”, planted some cold crops.  Not long after she did that, we get 90 degree days!  As soon as Mother Nature settles down, hopefully around June 1st, we can call on our volunteers to plant the other 21 raised planting beds in the Community Food Collaborative garden.

Planting Cold Crop - Apr 28, 2018

Planted cold crop - Apr 28, 2018

Learning About Current Town Projects and Initiatives

Kevin Filchak spoke with us for the second time bringing us up to date on what the Town of Sturbridge is currently working on.  Kevin serves as the Town’s Economic Development & Tourism Coordinator.  In his role, Kevin hosts a number of meetings to get in touch with businesses and the citizens to learn what they’d like to see happen in Sturbridge.  Committees are formed on different topics that work to improve the town.  A Sturbridge Business Breakfast, Business Classes, Business Advocacy Group, Develop the Route 15 Corridor committee are just a few activities taking place.  It was learned from the Special Events committee that we need new and more events.  This committee recently implemented a Farmers Market starting June 24 to September 30 on the Common and the Rick Hoyt Half Marathon is scheduled for September 9th.  Adult use marijuana and makerspace are still being discussed.  Kevin does a great job in keeping everyone informed on what’s happening.  He creates a monthly Business Newsletter and a monthly Event Newsletter.  Both of these can be found on the town website at and  If you’d like to get involved in your favorite topic, please contact him at

Kevin Filchak - Apr 30, 2018


Kevin Filchak, Austin - Apr 30, 2018

Kevin receives a Rotary mug from President-Elect Austin.












Everything You Need to Know About a Home Inspection

There’s a lot involved prior to buying your ‘dream home’.  Robert Andrade, a Certified Home Inspector with Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspections, shared a great deal of valuable information with us, much of which we didn’t know.  For those who have owned their home a long time, many new safeguards have been put in place to help the potential home buyer (or seller) know what he’s buying (or selling) and not get surprises once it’s too late.  Massachusetts has many more inspection requirements than our neighboring states.  Electrical, water damage, termites, ants, building rot, unstable foundations, radon, furnace, damaged or worn out roof, – just to name a few issues covered by Robert’s credentials.  More sophisticated equipment is used now during inspections such as infrared cameras and drones.  While it may cost you to have an inspection, it’s money well spent.

Robert Andrade, Home Insp. - Apr 23, 2018

Publicity About Our Sister Club

This excerpt is a weekly email blast from The Citizen Chronicle listing the 5 top stories of the week and a “Did You Know” fact.  Below is the “fact” in the blast of April 22, 2018.

This report is not totally accurate, but close. The cities of Stourbridge and Sturbridge are not sister cities, however, the two Rotary Clubs in these cities are Sister Clubs. We have been twinned with the Stourbridge Rotary Club since 1988 and the clubs have visited each other nine times over the years and continue to exchange their Club Bulletins each month. It’s their turn to visit us and we are hoping it will be this year!

Citizen Chronicle re Sister Club - 4-22-2018

CFC Garden Gets Fresh Soil

Tantasqua students helped out again this morning. This time, the girls lacrosse team, several members of the boys lacrosse team, coaches, several parents and CFC members worked to fill 24 garden bed frames with fresh loam. They worked hard, laughed, joked around, ate snacks and still managed to finish this giant task in only 90 minutes. Incredible! Tons of thanks go out to these students for helping to give the new Community Food Collaborative garden a kickstart. Besides the Tantasqua carpentry students building all the frames and the lacrosse students filling them up, the CFC is so lucky and appreciative to have their support.

25 yds waiting - TRHS - 4-21-2018

Filling wheelbarrows - TRHS larosse - 4-21-2018

Spreading loam - TRHS lacrosse - 4-21-2018

Dumping1- TRHS Lacrosse - 4-21-2018

Posed Lacrosse TRHS students - 4-21-2018

Community Food Collaborative Gets New Garden Planting Beds

Thank you to the Tantasqua Carpentry Students for building our garden planters. They look amazing.  The students worked through the cold, rain and snow to have the planters built and installed before the kickoff party. They went the extra mile in setting them up level and spaced out exactly as planned. This is a great group and they deserve all the credit in the world. 

TRHS carpentry - April 14, 2018

Fellowship at Stageloft

A great fellowship event at Stageloft Theatre was held to see the comedy musical “Pete ‘n Keely”.  Prior to the event, 16 Rotarians, spouses and guests attended a social gathering at the home of a member.  A fun evening for all who attended!

Pete n Keely at Stageloft - Apr 14, 2018

CFC Garden Hosts Volunteer Kickoff Reception

A Volunteer Kickoff Reception was held at the Sturbridge Federated Church.  About 40 people attended and watched a PowerPoint presentation running in the background.  After talking with the attendees about our plans for the garden, Len spoke about the JP II Food Pantry and the need for fresh vegetables.  All were then invited to walk over to the garden where they could see the garden site.

Open House Food, attendees 4-11-2018

Open House Len, Joe 4-11-2018

Open House Small group in garden 4-11-2018

Dr. Gani Abazi and Kosovo

Dr. Gani Abazi visited the Club and gave us a broad overview of his life, his education and his growth into a key figure in the Kosovo recovery.  In 2012 the Rotary Foundation awarded the Sturbridge Club a $35,000 grant to equip the Plastic Surgery Department of the University Clinical Center of Kosovo (UCCK) with surgical instruments to perform delicate reconstructive hand surgery.  UCCK is a teaching hospital in Prishtina, the capital city of Kosovo, which serves the entire country of 2 million people.   It is generally recognized that Kosovo is the poorest country in Europe, so there is much need for support by other countries.

Gani, a previous recipient of the Rotary Foundation’s Ambassadorial Scholarship and native of Kosovo, planned with the Prishtina-Dardania and Sturbridge Rotary Clubs, a project that would deliver both manual and powered surgical tools to UCCK.  The project expanded to eventually include seven Rotary clubs in four countries.

Gani stressed Klaus’ key contributions to his growth and how influential Klaus’ efforts were not only with the Kosovo Project but also in his career.  The Sturbridge Club is now in phase II of the Kosovo Project which is estimated to take two years to complete.  Gani and Klaus continue to be driving forces in this project.

Dr. Gani Abazi - Kosovo - Klaus - Apr 9, 2018

Recognizing a Rotary Service Hero

District Governor Karin Gaffney, Assistant Governor Tony Gasbarro, and incoming Assistant Governor Lynn Duffy-O’Shea attended our meeting to honor Lorraine Herbert with recognition as a Rotary Service Hero 2018.  Lorraine has been a member of Rotary since 1992 and is a Paul Harris Fellow multiple times supporting the Rotary Foundation, and has been the Club’s treasurer for 15 years.  She willfully volunteers to work on projects, serves on committees that set Club direction and is an inspiration for her “can do” attitude.  DG Karin presented Lorraine with a tee shirt sporting the Service Hero insignia.  In keeping with this year’s Rotary motto of “Making a Difference” and next year’s motto of “Be the Inspiration”, DG Gaffney has been recognizing those individuals in the District who have exemplified the true meaning of both mottos.  Congratulations Lorraine!

Lorraine Service Hero Award 2018, DG - Apr 2

Lorraine Service Award t-shirt - Apr 2, 2018

Senator Gobi Shares Projects

MA State Senator Anne Gobi attended the meeting to give a broad overview of the tasks on which she is currently working.  She also discussed the issues being worked on by State and local governments such as education, health, transportation as well as farming.  She encouraged us to keep current on all issues and to contact her with our thoughts and suggestions.  Feedback from her constituents is very important in helping her cast her votes.

Sen. Gobi, Dave - Mar 26, 2018