Capital Rotarians have given a helping hand to a local family and to a local charity as part of the club’s commitment to community service, according to president Philip Flynn. The family assistance helped Tameika and Jerome Smith and their six children relocate after being displaced from Allen Benedict Court in January due to dangerous gas leaks. The Smiths had to leave their possessions behind and were in temporary housing until moving into a new apartment in May. Club members donated time, money and household items – including furniture, kitchenware, bedding and clothing – so the Smiths could get back on their feet and set up house again. Flynn said Mrs. Smith (at new home’s door in photo) wanted to convey how much the family appreciates Capital Rotary’s support and contributions. He told the club that Mrs. Smith said: “Everything you did is a blessing!” Help for the local charity came as a result of the club’s touring Columbia’s Ronald McDonald House on May 29. The facility needs new signage to better mark its location. Capital Rotarians have raised over $1,000 toward a goal of $1,200 for this purchase. Flynn said he’s confident the goal will be met. “We know the Ronald McDonald House provides a tremendous resource for families needing lodging, food and fellowship while their children receive the healthcare they need,” Flynn added.
Capital Rotarians toured Columbia’s Ronald McDonald House on May 29, getting a firsthand look at how it provides a comforting atmosphere for families and children in times of medical crisis. The 16-bedroom facility on Colonial Drive has all the comforts of “a home away from home” including a well-stocked food pantry and toy room, a kitchen and dining room, relaxed living areas and washer/dryer units. The staff and volunteers work to ease emotional and financial stress caused by health issues, thus allowing families to focus on supporting their child when it matters most. The Ronald McDonald House serves families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year, with an 87% average occupancy rate. The May 29 tour was hosted by operations director Liz Atkinson, executive director Beth Lowrie and marketing/development manager Meghan McMenamy. As part of its Fifth Wednesday program, Capital Rotary occasionally substitutes field trips to local sites in place of a regular club meeting.
Capital Rotary Club member Tony Thompson (right in photo) is congratulated by president Philip Flynn after receiving a District 7770 Leadership Award for fundraising to support the CART (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust) Fund. Thompson organized a gala celebration last August that resulted in donations of more than $15,000 – all monies earmarked 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. The district award lauded Thompson’s “dedication to impactful actions and meaningful service to the Columbia community.” He has been a member of Capital Rotary since September 2001.
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.”