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Rotary Club puts ‘service above self’

- Members of the Rotary Club of Essex doing what they can during pandemic -

by Sylene Argent

The Rotary Club of Essex is a local service club that focuses on the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.”

  In keeping with that mandate, local Rotarians are typically busy fundraising at various events throughout the year to raise money to support local causes – which typically includes supporting food banks, providing youth scholarships to select high school graduates, and supporting youth initiatives. Rotary also supports international causes, which includes eradicating Polio.

  Bettie Kerr is the President of the Essex Rotary Club this year, and she noted the local club has not been able to fundraise as it typically does, due to the Coronavirus. A few weeks ago, however, Essex-based Rotarians joined fellow service members from clubs within the Windsor-Essex County region to make dry soup mix at the Southwestern Ontario Gleaners facility in Leamington.

  Kerr noted Gleaners had been shut down for a while, because of COVID, and the 24-hour marathon Rotarians held provided a week’s worth of work for the local organization.

  “That was a lot of help for them,” Kerr said.

  Helping at Gleaners is just one example of community service the Rotary Club of Essex provides. It also donates to the Essex Area Food Bank, and mans the Little Free Library stations in town. Recently, the Little Free Library at Sadlers’ Park was reinstalled after being repaired.

  Members are also working currently on planning the “Rotary Governor’s Golf Outing” with other local clubs. Kerr said at least 18 sets of four golfers are planned to participate on September 20 at Kingsville Golf & Country Club, and there will be a dinner afterwards. The event is being held to raise money Rotary can use to fund some of the programs and services it offers to the community.

  This golf tournament will be the Canadian version of what has turned into an international event for this year. Another will take place across the border to accommodate the American Rotarians in the local Rotary District. Typically, this event just takes place in the US, but has been split in two due to COVID-19 and closed international borders.

  An international support campaign Essex Rotary recently participated in included sending $5000 to go to Ghana for food back in April, Kerr noted.

  “We have to be careful as to what we donate to, because we only have so much money,” Kerr said, noting the club has not been able to do conduct many of its fundraisers during the pandemic, which includes cooking at various events. Members are looking forward to working Bingos as a fundraiser, when that gets going again, she added.

  The Rotary Club of Essex will still provide scholarships for select graduating high school students.

  “Rotary does a lot for the community, and outside the community,” Kerr said, adding getting involved, “gives you a good sense of comradery.”

  Rotarians, Kerr said, have been meeting mostly online during the pandemic, or in small groups outdoors. Members are looking forward to hosting a meeting in-person.  

  Currently, the Essex Rotary Club has around 20 members, and new recruits are always welcome. For more information, contact Kerr at 519-839-5886 or log onto: rotaryofessex.com/join-us/

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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