Rotary is a 115 year-old international service organization with approximately 35,000 clubs worldwide. Its motto is Service Above Self. Known as the little club that gets things done, the Peachland Rotary club was established in 1997.
Peachland Rotarians are behind several landmarks in town. There’s the familiar pavilion at Heritage Park, presented to the District of
Peachland in 2005 to commemorate the centennial of Rotary International. There’s also the Rotary Clock, which was a centennial contribution to Peachland back in 2009. Ten years later, the Rotary club joined forces with the Peachland Lions and Peachland Sportsmen’s Association to provide initial funding for the Ray Kandola Heritage Pier. Local Rotarians are also behind the playground at Heritage Park, as well as the mural across the street depicting the Peachland of long ago.
You’ll also find Rotary volunteers at many Peachland events, from their annual Sip & Savour wine tasting event, to the Concert in the
Park series, the Polar Bear Swim, Christmas Light Up, Canada Day festivities and more. They’ve also contributed funds towards many local initiatives, including Peachland Elementary’s playground project, as well as the Starfish Pack Program for local kids. Internationally, the Rotary focuses on fundraising for polio eradication, Shelter Boxes, and supporting education and health in developing countries.
See March 13 story COVID-19 concern cancels Peachland wine festival
Here’s the Rotary’s column for the month of May, written by Chris Boyle, their director of public image:
I recently got a little piece of wisdom from a friend. It talks about the fact that we are all in the same boat, but that really we are all in our own boats: my concerns have to do with vulnerability and age, yours maybe are focused on educating the kids, convincing your boss to establish good rules around starting the business, again. Others are concerned with where the next meal is coming from and where they will be able to sleep tonight. We have the same circumstances to deal with, each from our own point of view.
In Westbank, the Salvation Army is still trying to find accommodation for people who don’t have a home and to provide meals for the hungry. How do they find resources for that? Food banks in West Kelowna and Westbank, Peachland and Summerland are trying to cope with a surge in clients seeking security, food for their families and some level of comfort in a socially distanced world. It mounts up really quickly.
In Peachland, Judy Bedford uncomplainingly stocks the shelves and fridges for those in need. People who have no income because their employer had to close their doors are swelling the ranks of those in need. Demand increases just when the resources are cut back or eliminated.
Now, more than ever we can step up and help. It really isn’t too difficult. If you buy a coffee at Tims’ or Bliss or Blenz, just buy one for a friend at the same time. A couple of dollars. Put it in a Ziploc every time you buy one. Choose a recipient and drop it off when you are by next time. If ten people were to do that just for seven days that would be an extra $140 for the food bank or whoever you choose. Paying it forward has never been so easy, so painless or so rewarding. Think on it!
In Peachland, Judy Bedford continues to operate, stock and gather for our own Peachland Food Bank. In the Valley, the local need is as important as the overseas need, and it is far more immediate for us, because it’s our own neighbours and friends who are suffering. Judy and her volunteers in Peachland do what we as individuals cannot: she looks after those less fortunate, so long as she gets the resources. Our Rotary Club made a donation earlier this year to help a little, and we continue the Starfish programme, with the continuing help of SaveOn in Westbank. Local “boats” are everywhere, not just in the Valley or even Canada.
Every month I get a “Catch Up” from an impoverished little corner of Mexico, where people scavenge through the rubbish that is dumped by the big town nearby. They are after bits and pieces that could be re-used, re-purposed or just recycled at a nearby flea market. That’s how they make the money to feed their families: that was their normal. With COVID 19 their normal is now broken too.
A Canadian and a Rotarian, Art Fumerton, lives nearby and has helped the villagers by sharing their plight, through his contacts with Rotary clubs in Canada. For years he has been supporting their efforts to educate their children and to establish viable economic growth in a place where hope seemed futile. Last year their first ever University graduate received his degree.
Now, working on a tight budget, Art, the schoolchildren and some of Art’s friends have helped over a hundred of the poorest families in the village combat the economic impact of the coronavirus, through a small food bank. A very similar, but hardly the same boat.
Comparing this small, poverty stricken village in Mexico and our own small village in Canada shows just how similar we are.
COVID-19 is changing the way we live. It’s also changing how we show our appreciation and support to those who risk their own wellbeing in order to keep the rest of us safe, fed and functioning: the doctors, nurses, truck drivers, service technicians, grocery store cashiers and shelf-stockers, mechanics, pharmacists, shopkeepers and restaurateurs . In fact, all of those who one way or another, are helping our world maintain an appearance of near-normalcy. “Thank you” is back in fashion! Every evening at seven o’clock people all through communities across the world go outside and make noise to show appreciation for all of these folk. Wherever you live you are probably doing similar things to say “Thank you” to all of them.
If you’d like to learn more about the little village of Volcanes in Mexico, about Rotary or see what other things Peachland Rotary gets up to, you’ll find new postings on our website, peachlandrotary.com which describe the efforts of the Volcanes food bank, and our little food bank in Peachland. Your own town will have their own Judy or Art and other projects you can help, I’m sure.
Thanks for listening,