By Marie Murphy
During the past year The Clarke County Rotary Club has supported a number of community initiatives and organizations both on the local level and internationally.
Last summer the club planted and harvested a community garden plot at Blandy Farm giving all the produce to the Salvation Army kitchen. Also last summer the Rotary Club provided the Clarke County Library with young adult books to give as prizes for their summer reading program. They plan to do the same for the summer reading program of 2012. Under the umbrella of literacy, Rotary club members, along with members of other service clubs in Clarke County, read to Clarke County Preschool students on the United Way Day of Caring in September.
Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self” is the foundation for its support of both international and local communities. For our international community the club supports the worldwide eradication of Polio with donations to Rotary International. Through Rotary International the Rotary Club of Clarke County, in partnership with a Rotary Club in Bangladesh, is applying for grants to fund the digging of 40 tube wells for an impoverished village in Bangladesh.
In February, members joined other nearby Rotary clubs for “Rotarians Against Hunger.” The clubs hosted Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief organization that distributes food around the world. The clubs packaged over 36,000 meals during this event.
Locally, the Rotary Club of Clarke County made a donation to FISH for capital projects, sponsored the Social Services Food Pantry Distribution in January, and distributed Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to struggling Clarke County residents. Half of the proceeds from their August Rotary Golf Tournament were donated to the Free Medical Clinic which serves Clarke County residents. Watch for the 2012 Golf Tournament in August, which will also benefit the Free Medical Clinic.
Each year the club recognizes 12 Clarke County High School Seniors as Rotary Students of the Month. These students are selected based largely on their community service record. Students and their parents are invited to a Rotary lunch where they have the opportunity to speak about themselves and their activities. This year the Rotary Students of the Month are: Peter Levi, Megan Waring, Amanda Gordon, Michael Arthur, Michaela Garrison, Jessica Myer, Conor Mettenburg, Daniel Judge, Connor Shendow, Alex Sefton, Julia Johnston, Benjamin Genda.
The club also sponsors the Interact club at the Clarke County High School. Interact is the high school arm of Rotary. Clarke County Interact club members have participated in a number of community service projects. The Clarke County Rotary Club will be giving two $1,000 scholarships to Clarke County High School seniors this year.
The club’s next fundraiser, supporting club community service projects, will be a Casino Night at Boyce Fire Hall on Saturday April 21st at 6:00 PM. A $40 donation will get you $500 in play money to try your hand at blackjack, craps, poker, roulette and other games. Winnings will be redeemed for tickets to a raffle at the end of the event. Some of the raffle prizes are a 47” Flat Screen TV, an iPod Touch, a Kindle Fire and a Kitchen Aid Mixer. You will also be treated to delicious appetizers and a beverage of your choice. Additional beverages will be available at a cash bar. For tickets or more information, please contact Ralph Pierce at 540-955-2999. Tickets will be available at the door.
Rotary International has over 34,000 clubs and 1.2 million members worldwide. Clarke County Rotary has thirty-nine members and meets each Wednesday at noon in Grace Episcopal Church’s Parish Hall in Berryville. Guests are always welcome. If you would like more information about the club or would like to attend a weekly meeting, please contact Jim McCarty at (540) 955-5237.
Marie Firth Murphy is president of the Clarke County Rotary Club