Rotary Benefit Fund: Almost $60K distributed to volunteer organizations

June 30, 2010
Santa Paula News

Everyone contributed to the almost $60,000 in Rotary Benefit Fund grants formally distributed at a recent meeting, not counting smaller grants for other volunteer organizations that helped at the club’s largest annual fundraiser.

“The club takes great pleasure in being able to support so many worthwhile projects in the community,” said Past President and Benefit Fund Chairman Mitch Stone.

“This is what Rotary service is all about. Everyone who supports the Pumpkin Patch by coming to the Hansen Trust Faulkner Farm in October should know that they are not only having a great time, but they’re also playing a big part making Santa Paula such a great place to live.”

Rotary President Pam Lindsay welcomed the visitors on hand for the generous handouts to other non-profit organizations. “It’s really wonderful to have the opportunity to give money to people in our community who make a difference in all our lives here in Santa Paula” through the proceeds of the 3rd Annual Pumpkin Patch & Harvest Festival, held each weekend in October.

Lindsay noted other sources also swell the Benefit Fund, with individual club members making donations throughout the year. More than a quarter of Rotary Club members served on the Benefit Fund Grant Committee, offering what Lindsay said is “a really good overview” for grant requests and the ultimate awardees.

Santa Clara Valley Hospice/Home Support Group received funds for 10 wheelchairs for its Hospice Wheels of Service program, while Santa Paula Hospital, long a recipient of Rotary generosity, garnered more than $11,000 for a centralized cardiac monitor. “It is just wonderful that there is so much support from Rotary for our hospital,” said Supervisor Kathy Long. “I’m so excited to be here for these funds... they will save lives and we thank you.”

Ventura County Healthcare Agency Executive Director Mike Powers said the new equipment would help doctors and nurses evaluate patients in “real time.... This is your community hospital. It’s a wonderful and beautiful hospital, but you also have to realize it offers state of the art care. This is your hospital and this support couldn’t come at a better time and we thank you!”

New computers for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Clara Valley, funds for a Santa Paula California Oil Museum exhibit by Santa Paula High School students paying tribute to “The Campus on the Hill,” repairs and upgrades needed at the museum as well as at the historic Ebell Clubhouse, home to the Santa Paula Theater Center, and some extras for needed finish work at the Santa Paula Art Museum all received Rotary checks.

Odd Fellows Noble Grand Johnny Hernandez said the $9,000 Benefit Fund donation would go far in helping renovate and upgrade the historic Lodge and Clock Tower, and Optimist Club President Cathy Hicks said the club’s donation for walkie-talkie radios would help members better serve at a variety of community events.

“We’ve already spent it,” said Santa Paula Police Reserve/Explorers Advisor David Curran of the $9,000 Rotary donation for a van. “Thank you for the generous donation; this will enable us to actually purchase the van. With the kids’ fundraising and this check it’s gotten us into the position to actually purchase the vehicle.”

Curran noted the Explorers program serves youth 14 to 20 years old: “We try to guide them on the right path,” and Curran noted that Explorer Alfred Osuna is “our Explorer of the Year. “We have guidance from Chief Steve MacKinnon,” also attending the check presentation, noted Curran. “He allows us to take our own path... sometimes I go to him for advice,” but he trusts department staff to run the program.

“We also have a long and glorious list of awards for $1,500 and under” that Lindsay said benefited even more community volunteer organizations. She thanked the Rotary Benefit Fund Award recipients for their hard work and effort: “You do good in the community... it is our pleasure to give these awards to you.”


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