Capital Rotary Club members on March 20 heard how Columbia’s Ronald McDonald House works to comfort families that have to be away from home while dealing with a child’s medical crisis. The compassionate story came from guest speakers Liz Atkinson (left in photo) and Beth Lowrie (at right in photo), who serve as the charity’s operations manager and executive director, respectively. They said the 16,000-square-foot, 16-bedroom Ronald McDonald House provides a comfortable environment where families can rest, enjoy home-cooked meals, relax in spacious living areas, use laundry facilities and most importantly, experience a network of support among other families facing similar worries and fears. The stability of this “home away from home” not only relieves emotional and financial stress, but also allows families to focus on being there for their child when it matters most. The local Ronald McDonald house is one of 368 similar facilities located in 48 countries. Columbia’s house opened 35 years ago; its occupancy rate averages 87 per cent. Atkinson and Lowrie said there is a constant need for volunteers and fund-raising to support the charity’s programs. The Ronald McDonald House is open to serve families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
Capital Rotary Club adopted a local family and provided gifts for the holiday season (shown in photo) as part of the 2018 Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program, a Palmetto Project and WIS-TV initiative. Club members had the option of purchasing gifts or making a monetary donation. The adopted family included two adults and five children. One hundred percent of the club membership participated, according to Rotarian Catherine Mabry, who oversaw the project. The family also received a $100 Food Lion gift card. For 25 years, the Families Helping Families program has provided gifts, clothing, food and other essentials to thousands of Midlands neighbors in need, ensuring that all may share in the joy of the Christmas season.
Rotary clubs in South Carolina’s Midlands will hold a gala fund-raiser in Columbia Friday evening, Aug. 17 to benefit the CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) Fund. Tickets are now available, along with sponsorship opportunities and item donations for life and silent auctions.
The black tie optional event will be held at the historic event venue at 1208 Washington St. from 7 to 11 p.m. Advance tickets are $100 per person or $175 per couple. Tickets at the door will be $125 per person or $200 per couple. Admission includes live music, heavy hors d’oeurves, open bar and free valet parking.
Sponsorships range from $250 to $5,000 and include a pre-event champagne reception, event tickets, advertising listings and additional promotional considerations. More information about tickets and sponsor information is available at www.cartgala.org.
Gala organizers hope to raise $40,000 for the CART Fund. One hundred percent (100%) of CART donated funds go to grants for cutting edge, high-impact research aimed at preventing or finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The CART initiative began in South Carolina over 20 years ago and has since been adopted by Rotary clubs throughout the United States. Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and South Carolina ranks number 1 in deaths from the disease.
Rotary clubs worldwide are the heart and soul of an unprecedented effort to eradicate polio, an effort leading to a 99% drop in cases of the once-widespread disease. Capital Rotary club members were reminded of that fact in a video shown at their May 9 breakfast meeting. Rotary began an anti-polio campaign in 1979 with a project to vaccinate children in the Philippines. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative launched in 1988 is driven by Rotary International and four other core partners – the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The partners’ work has been called “the single most successful public health initiative in history.” Rotary’s focus is advocacy, fundraising, volunteer recruitment and awareness building. In this way, Rotarians and the 101-year-old Rotary Foundation have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries.
Capital Rotary members put in a solid hour of community service Feb. 21 when they volunteered at Harvest Hope Food Bank’s Shop Road headquarters in Columbia. Rotarians sorted and stocked 1,363 pounds of bakery items; bagged 611 pounds of snacks and 1,714 pounds of produce; and bagged and stocked 443 pounds of dairy goods – all destined for the Emergency Food Pantry. Harvest Hope, begun in 1981, works to meet the needs of hungry people in 20 counties in the Midlands, Pee Dee and Greater Greenville regions of South Carolina. Food Bank executive director Denise Holland is a Capital Rotary member. In photo at top right below, the work detail includes club members (from left) Chris Ray, Jay von Kolnitz, Paul Gillam, Austin McVay and John Guignard. In photo at bottom right below, club members on work detail are (from left) Ione Cockrell, Trey Boone, Frank Rutkowski, Ben Carlton and Ann Elliott.
Capital Rotary Club members adopted two local families for the holiday season in partnership with the 2017 Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program, a Palmetto Project and WIS-TV initiative. Each family had a single mother and six children. Youngsters ranged in age from two to 17 years old. The Christmas wish lists included clothing, toys, personal care items, small household appliances, groceries and furniture. The club’s goal was to raise a total of $1,000 in order to purchase each family’s gifts. The club offered to match donations made by members. Presents were purchased, gift-wrapped and delivered to a warehouse for distribution. Capital Rotarians who led their club’s participation included Neda Beal, Carol Caulk, Felicia Maloney, E.J. Newby (at left in photo with Sandy, a Families Helping Families volunteer) and Qing Wang.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club has made donations for two humanitarian causes – one to eradicate polio, the other to provide disaster relief in the U.S. and overseas.
The club raised $882 that will be matched with District Designated Funds to become a donation of $1,764 for the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio. Ending polio has been a mission of Rotary International since 1985. Rotarians have contributed more than $1.7 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.
Capital Rotary’s contribution – and the resulting match from District 7770 in eastern South Carolina – was made to celebrate World Polio Day/Week. World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Dr. Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
The local club’s disaster relief donation totaled $8,000 earmarked for rebuilding lives and communities following hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, plus the September earthquakes in Mexico. “We are coordinating through Rotary for the best way to distribute our funds to make a difference,” said Capital president Blake DuBose.
“Our board voted for this donation because we remember when Columbia was impacted by a 1,000-year flood in 2015 and an outpouring of support came from all parts of the country,” DuBose added. “The greater Columbia area was the beneficiary of an incredible amount of giving then, so we’re doing what we can in the same spirit now.”
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose presents a $1,000 check supporting child feeding to Denise Holland, CEO of Harvest Hope Food Bank. The funds will go for (1) a BackPack Program providing child-friendly, nutritious, easy-to-open food to last the weekend for needy children and (2) the Kids Café Program serving an average of 300 children over 3,100 nutritious, warm meals monthly at 13 after-school sites including churches, community centers and Boys & Girls Clubs. DuBose said Harvest Hope has worked since 1981 to alleviate childhood hunger, a concern embraced by Rotary International worldwide.
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose (right) congratulates club members Katherine Anderson and Paul Gillam for their latest donations to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable corporation that funds programs for world understanding and peace. Anderson and Gillam have earned designation as Paul Harris Fellow plus-one contributors (signifying a $1,000 initial donation, plus an additional gift of $1,000). Gillam has been a Rotarian for more than 10 years, while Anderson joined the club in 2009.
At the annual club assembly to review Capital Rotary’s accomplishments for 2016-2017, president Tommy Gibbons thanked members for achieving highlights that included:
- Earning a Leadership Citation badge for participation in local/district community service projects plus contributions for international humanitarian outreach.
- Donating dictionaries to third-grade students in 12 Richland County District One schools. Over the past 12 years, the club has distributed personal dictionaries to12,150 youngsters.
- Collecting 61 pints at the annual Red Cross Blood Drive, each donation helping to save the lives of up to three people.
- Raising $2,100 at a Lake Murray charity fishing tournament and over $18,000 in holiday wreath sales to benefit college scholarships; club stipends currently go to four students.
- Contributing almost $40,000 in charitable funds to The Rotary Foundation, to Polio Plus efforts to eliminate the crippling disease worldwide, and for the CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) Fund to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease.
- Supporting The Rotary Foundation with 54 Paul Harris Fellows ($1,000 donation), 46 Benefactors ($1,000 donation via will), four Bequest Society members ($10,000 donation upon death), four Major Donors (donation greater than $10,000) and eight Paul Harris Society members ($1,000 donation yearly) in our ranks.
- Providing $1,000 for flood assistance in Louisiana as well as $585 from individual members.
- Helping a local family with Christmas gifts and working with the Saint Bernard Project to repair the family’s house after flooding.
- Adding six new members and getting them involved and engaged early in club activities.
- Continuing community service projects with Meals on Wheels and Harvest Hope Food Bank
- Publicizing club activities with 60 website and social media posts; reaching 8,609 people through social media; 3,002 website visitors; 30 press releases to local media; and mention of our club in 14 district e-newsletters.