Semiahmoo Secondary students help with Rotary Noel.

Semiahmoo Secondary students help with Rotary Noel.

ROTARY ROUNDUP: Making spirits bright

Rotary club members are busier than ever at Christmastime

by Brenda Gibson

It’s finally here – the most wonderful time of the year!

Just like a Where’s Waldo? children’s book, Christmas is an especially fun time to play “Spot the Rotarian.”

December sees Rotarians of all the Semiahmoo clubs scurrying to meet the many needs of our community.

With seemingly countless opportunities to be of service, the season is the culmination of many of our efforts as we reach out to create a special Christmas for as many of our neighbours as possible.

Among many other initiatives, you’ll easily be able to both hear and see Rotarians from multiple clubs ringing the bells at local Salvation Army Christmas Kettles around town.

All clubs are so very pleased to be able to give back to their communities – and none more so than the Peace Arch Rotary Club who wishes to thank their generous community donors and sponsors for helping to make the Rotary Noel evening on Nov. 19 such a huge success.

The proceeds of this year’s event allow the club to meet its commitment of a $100,000 donation to the White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society.

The club would also thank the students of Semiahmoo Secondary for providing live music and help throughout the evening.

In addition to the contribution to the White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society, the club is able to present two $5,000 cheques to Holly and Hjorth Road elementaries. The funds will be used for supplies and to address technology needs.

The Rotary Club of South Surrey enjoys their annual Christmas connection with Maj.Ken Kimberly of the Salvation Army. Kimberly never leaves empty handed, leaving with donations from members and from the club.

Already looking ahead to springtime, the club did a recent cleanup of Bryant Park. If you happened to visit the park on a sunny but cold afternoon a couple of weeks ago, you would have seen seven club members cleaning up the park and planting more than 200 tulip bulbs for your enjoyment next spring. (We can hardly wait!)

Not all funding is community raised. Just days ago, a refugee family from Syria arrived into the community, and a South Surrey Club Rotarian, on behalf of the club, donated two single beds to assist in providing a home for this family.

Other Rotarians were also able to contribute to this worthy project. Internationally, individual members at this club have recently sent US$1,300 to Cambodia to enable four orphanage students to continue post graduate studies – impossible without the financial aid from these generous Rotarians.

Such wonderful, impactful gifts!

Hopefully Christmas tugs at your heartstrings, too, and you find ways to share the goodwill of the season with your neighbours.

New members are always welcome, and there are breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings to fit everyone’s schedules.

Each group has its own unique dynamic and projects of focus – and would be delighted to welcome your visit!

For more about Rotary or the specific projects mentioned, please visit www.rotary.org or our club-specific websites.

Thank you to all donors and sponsors for helping our community stay strong and, from all of your local Rotarians, Merry Christmas!

Brenda Gibson writes monthly on behalf of the Semiahmoo Peninsula’s five Rotary Clubs. Email her at brenda_gibson@shaw.ca

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