Club members choose Service Above Self A variety of service projects are being undertaken to benefit the causes of literacy, disease eradication and fighting hunger with positive impact in the neighhourhood.

Jason Sobotta fills up totes with rice for the Feed My Starving Children event in October at RiverStar in Winona. Photo: Chuck Miller, Winona Daily News
Jason Sobotta fills up totes with rice for the Feed My Starving Children event in October at RiverStar in Winona. Photo: Chuck Miller, Winona Daily News

Winona’s Rotary Club (Minnesota, US – D 5960) members are continuing to put their neighbours over themselves.

Carrying out the group’s motto of “service over self” the Winona Rotary Club carries out a variety of projects each year to benefit causes of literacy, disease eradication and fighting hunger.

Some of the events include the annual Ride the Ridge bike ride fundraiser and the Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack event.

In October, the “Feed My Starving Children” event had to turn away volunteers hoping to help pack nutritious meals of rice, soy, vegetables and vitamins into bags to be sent around the world to hungry kids.

The Rotary Club has sent out hundreds of thousands of the meals from Winona since the program started.

Club president Brad Bullard said in addition to volunteering time, the club raises money for supplies locally, including giving dictionaries to third-graders, and helps Winona high school student participation in foreign exchange programs.

Recently it started a summer event in which free food is provided in neighbourhoods to facilitate gatherings and bring people together for a meal.

“They’re just trying to do what they can to help the community and make the world a better place,” Bullard said.

Like many volunteer organisations, it has an international presence.

Founded by Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney, in 1905, it was originally created to allow professionals with different backgrounds to “exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships and give back to their communities,” according to the organisation.

The group grew fast, and 16 years after inception had set up clubs on six continents.

IT began a worldwide push to end polio in 1979, with a goal of immunising six million children in the Philippines.

Now polio is only endemic in three countries, down from 125 in 1988.

Winona’s club counts for 79 of the more than 1.2 million members internationally, but it hopes to grow.

The group meets at noon Wednesdays at the American Legion, 302 E Sarnia St in Winona.

Like many volunteer organisations, Bullard said the Rotary has seen membership wane but would like to see participation from younger generations and fresh voices.

“We’re trying to encourage younger people,” Bullard said. “We all need the infusion of new ideas.”

Bullard said it encourages people to check out the meetings, talk to Rotary members about what they do, or contact them through the emails at the website: clubrunner.ca/winona.

Source: Winona Daily News 

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