The Rotary has been busy this fall on a variety of good-deed projects, including providing medical face masks for schools, and police and fire departments in East Greenwich and Central Falls; personal care bags for homeless shelters; and money for hurricane relief in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Member Donna Wolcott is the club’s community service director and she’s been coordinating the various projects, the largest of which was coordinating the mask donation. An East Hampton Connecticut Rotarian, Ted Rossi, donated the masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He distributed 200,000 masks in his home state last spring but then decided to expand the program to all of New England.
“We are navigating unprecedented times through this pandemic,” said Charlene J. Jarest, governor of Rotary District 7950, which includes 65 clubs in Rhode Island and southeast Massachusetts. “And as colder days arrive with flu season, Rotarians are in action all across the district making sure that organizations and businesses have access to the most important safety measure to stave off the Covid virus. I couldn’t be prouder of the men and women of our clubs who are making a difference by selflessly giving of themselves. This is what Rotarians do.”
Local Rotary Clubs were invited to take 2,000 masks for public safety officers and schools in their communities. Wolcott said the EG Rotary decided to “adopt” Central Falls too, since that city does not have its own Rotary Club. That meant Wolcott was working with fire, police and school departments in two communities to coordinate delivery.
On Oct. 7, a giant tractor-trailer rolled up in front of the State House and Wolcott and other Rotarians from around the state were on hand to take delivery.
By then, she had already reached out to the various departments in both municipalities to let them know surgical masks were on the way.
In East Greenwich, school nurses were happy to receive the masks; Central Falls school officials asked for 400 masks for teachers and staff. Police and fire got the rest of the masks.
“It felt really good,” said Wolcott. “The Central Falls School Department was very excited and the nurses in East Greenwich were happy to receive theirs too.”
EG Rotary’s other endeavors included raising $500 for hurricane relief for Lake Charles, La., in coordination with all the clubs in the district. And members also collected personal care items to put together into bags for people who are homeless – a first for the club. Wolcott said they compiled enough items for 75 bags to be given to Amos House and Crossroads in Providence.
With those projects complete, EG Rotarians are looking toward the holiday season. As in years past, members will be providing gifts for the children at London Bridge Child Care on Duke Street. It won’t be the same, however, since this year there will be no holiday party for the children, complete with a visit from Santa, a man who looks a lot like someone else who shares the Wolcott name. With hope, Santa will be back next year.