By Murray Ramsbottom, president of the Rotary Club of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Our club wanted to do something special to observe the 100th anniversary of our club’s charter on 15 November, 1913. So we launched several initiatives disbursing $250,000 from club fundraisers to help those in need in our community.
The results have been nothing short of amazing, and have brought members closer together. There is nothing more fulfilling than serving others through Rotary. A pleasant collateral has been the excellent publicity we have received from local newspapers and magazines, as well as a television station based in Victoria. We would encourage all clubs to celebrate major anniversaries with service projects, and invite the media to publicize the great work Rotary is doing.
In early 2013, we donated $30,000 for a delivery van to the Rainbow Kitchen Society, a non-profit organization that brings together people from all walks of life to share a meal. The van helps the Rainbow Kitchen pick up donated food, which is then prepared in their kitchen. We had previously given the society $20,000 to enhance their kitchen. As the van goes about its business, it is displaying the Rotary Wheel, and letting the community know how we are assisting the Rainbow Kitchen in serving the poor and hungry.
In May, we gave $100,000 to the Victoria Cool Aid Society to refurbish their Downtown Recreation Centre. The society used $25,000 left over after the rehab for a handicap van. The society’s mission is to end homelessness by working in partnership with others to provide emergency shelter, supportive housing, integrated health care and other support services. “The words ‘thank you’ alone simply cannot express how much of a difference your exceptional generosity has made to Cool Aid over the last few years,” the society wrote in a note.
We gave The Mustard Seed, the largest food bank on Vancouver Island, $18,000 from our polo match and tea fundraiser to finance the lease of their refrigerated truck for another year. We have donated a total of $76,000 over the past four years for the truck lease. Mustard Seed says our support is “building a stronger and more hopeful community and sustaining the important work we’ve been called to do” to fight hunger.
In December, we gave $100,000 for a physical literacy program for Craigflower Elementary School, $50,000 from club funds and another $50,000 from the Victoria Foundation. The program is helping children improve their social, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Our club is very proud of what we were able to accomplish with proceeds from our fundraisers during our centennial year.
Has your club recently celebrated a major anniversary? Use the comments section below to share how you celebrated.