Rotary Club of The Villages – Evening celebrated its 10th anniversary on Wednesday at Savannah Center with club members, past presidents and guests celebrating the chapter’s accomplishments.
Barry Gainer, 6980 District Governor, was on hand for the dinner celebration and remarked how special it is for “a club of 10 years to have donated over $300,000 to The Rotary International Foundation.”
The Rotary International Foundation supports Rotary projects all over the world and has donated over $145,000 for use in and around The Villages community. In the early days – under the leadership of presidents David Lewis, Mary Ann Ashworth and Jesse Turner – members raised and donated funds to Kids Against Hunger, Habitat for Humanity, $8,400 to the Villages Regional Hospital Auxiliary, and $17,000 to Deliver the Difference and other projects.
Charter member Pat Cronenberg, of the Village of Hadley, shared how their private Polo Event raised enough money to begin more hands-on projects and volunteer opportunities, such as filling food bags for LovExtension’s homebound clients.
“Ten years! That’s fantastic, and they have been helping us with funds, donations of food and personal care products and monthly volunteering for almost the whole time,” said LovExtension director Linda Krupski. “They have included us in their food drives recently and that has been a big help to our pantry serving homebound seniors in The Villages and Lake County.”
Charter member Mary Ann Ashworth said she stays with the club “because members get involved.” A former educator, Ashworth likes the variety of ways members have helped Harbour View Elementary School in Summerfield.
“They are always looking for ways to help us,” Harbour View principal Robert Hensel said. “For instance, we are having a reading incentive carnival and several members will be volunteering.”
Current President Julie Schmied saluted charter member Norm Davis, of the Village of Amelia, for being a great help with organizing dinners after club meetings.
“I like the friendships I have made while volunteering to help others.” Davis said. Schmied added, “It’s been exciting to see our club make a big difference for over 250 Veterans with our Smiles for Veterans Fund in partnership with Langley Health Services, working with Forward Paths to make a difference for homeless youth in a new initiative providing essentials in a string backpack.”
Service project chairs Gay Davidson and Kim Grassi shared with the guests the impact of a TON of food collected from food drives that benefited area food pantries.
“If you want to get involved in helping others and have fun, this might be the club for you” said past president Gay Ratcliffe Seamens.
The Evening Rotary Club meets at Lake Miona Recreation Center 5 to 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday, with an optional dinner after the meeting. For more information, go to www.rotaryvillagesevening.com