Here’s the latest news from the Rotary:
Did you know that the child mortality rate in Mexico has increased a shocking amount since COVID? It’s more than 100%, when you compare the first five weeks of 2021 to the same time period last year, says Peachland Rotarian Mario Avendaño Morales. It’s a big reason he’s urging for more medical supplies and expertise to support a grassroots-led hospital in Chiapas, part of a joint effort between the Rotary Club Oriente de Tuxtla and another in Bishop, California. The Chiapas Austere Medicine Vocational Training Initiative focusses on child and maternal health, something that’s a huge need in Mexico’s remote rural areas. When Mario was president of the Rotary Club Oriente de Tuxtla (in Chiapas Mexico), his club partnered with another Rotary in California and the project was born. It’s focussed on maternal and child health, and disaster / mass casualty training.
The Rotary invited him to present at the Zoom version of the Together for Mothers’ and Children’s Health event – a joint conference that took place last week between the Rotary and the World Health Organization, highlighting projects that are making a difference around the world. The plan was for him to speak in front of the international audience in Geneva, but alas, COVID.
“I feel greatly honoured to have the opportunity to participate in such an event and in a way, now to represent the Peachland Rotary Club as well,” Mario said in an email exchange before the event. He believes this issue is so important, the Rotary may one day support it in the same manner as their polio program.
During Mario’s presentation (which you can check out at the 54:51 to 1-hour mark of this video from the WHO, on YouTube), he recalls the dedication of traditional midwives, who after a long night of delivering babies, would walk long hours to participate in the training sessions that were part of the project’s early phases. The terrain is mountainous, there are a few dirt roads and there’s limited public transportation. Marios says the physicians in California greatly respected the indigenous midwives.
“It was this sharing and blending of traditional and modern knowledge, and learning a new respect for the midwives and their skills that the physicians took away with them,” he said, noting that despite some early success, COVID has really set everything back.
“There is even more urgent need for us to return with medical supplies and training and to expand this model to benefit more women and children,” he said as he concluded his presentation.
“Dignity, respect and trust are the cornerstones to making a difference. We know, because it has already been proven. And together we can stop mothers and babies from dying. “
For more info on this project, send the Peachland Rotary an email, and they’ll point you in the right direction!
A message from Wendy Howard, 2020 Peachland Rotary president:
Never did I imagine when I took on the presidency of the club that a worldwide pandemic would isolate us in our homes and put us in face masks whenever we ventured out. Nor could I have imagined that we would see so much financial stress and mental anguish from not being able to shake hands, hug, kiss or get socially close to family and friends.
When I reflect on the last year, albeit a COVID year, I believe our Peachland club rose to the challenge of adapting to new Zoom technology and carried on with local projects, activities and fundraisers for the betterment of our community. In many cases, due to social distancing requirements, we were unable to fundraise or do service projects the traditional way.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone, especially our Rotary Club members who so generously donated their time, hard-earned dollars and giving spirit for the betterment of humankind. Even in a COVID year we achieved a lot. Here is a smattering of what we accomplished. Locally, our club has:
- Supported the 2020 Cops for Kids campaign by donating $1,000
- Donated $3000 to the Peachland Food Bank;
- Donated planters and flowers to JoeAnna’s House in Kelowna, providing a more cheerful welcome for those families using the accommodation while their loved ones are in hospital at KGH.
- Put seven volunteers through Canadian Blood Donor training and began volunteering with the CBS clinic in Peachland, helping with Blood Donor Clinics.
- Continued the Starfish Backpack Program – delivering seven weekly backpacks to students identified as being in need at Peachland Elementary School. We also provided extra Save-on-Foods Gift certificates at Easter, Christmas and end of school year.
- Made weekly bread deliveries to the Starfish Program, Peachland Food Bank and Peachland Wellness Centre.
- Conducted a Peachland Pumpkin Patch which helped with funding for the Starfish Program.
- In conjunction with the Legion, provided funding for the Field of Crosses in honour of Peachlanders who gave their lives fighting in WW1 and WW11.
- Provided the Colleges’ Okanagan Foundation a donation of $4,442.99 to purchase a gurney for the colleges’ new Nurses Training Facility in Kelowna.
- Raised funds through a Christmas Raffle to provide three $1,500 scholarships for the Okanagan College Foundation
- Raised $2,500 toward supporting End Polio Now our International Rotary Program
- Organized Christmas gifts for needy seniors and assisted the Salvation Army with their annual Christmas Kettle Drive.
- Donated an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) machine to the Peachland Wellness Centre.
Internationally, we gave to the Roll-a-Hippo Project to support the Survival Gardens project in Africa by providing water transport and sustainable food. We also donated $2,500 to the Gitsegukla First Nation Community in Kitseguecla, Northern BC to assist the Write to Read Literacy Program. Club members also donated $3900 to Shelter Box, which supports those living in disaster areas, providing shelter and necessities for survival.
– Wendy Howard President, Rotary Club of Peachland.
Would you like to help out the Rotary – remotely? Steve Gardner is the Rotary’s president-elect (he’s official in July) and he says they’re in need of someone to help with their website. If you’re familiar with WordPress and can spare an hour or so every month to post articles, photos, notices and information, they would really appreciate it! Steve says he can help with writing and prioritizing items, and they’re able to pay an honorarium of $50 a month. If you’re interested, please contact the Rotary right here.
Local Rotarians were at it again, finding a way to raise money for a worthy cause (the Okanagan College Foundation). Their raffle back in December was a big success! Jean Gross won $800 in IGA gift cards, Peachland’s Vince Boyko won second prize, which was a handmade quilt, and third prize went to Lee Sawchuck who won $200 worth of IGA gift cards.
Remembrance Day, 2020:
It was a project they had started in February, and on Nov. 4, Rotarians, along with the Peachland Legion, the Mayor and other local
politicians stood in front of 21 carefully-arranged crosses and paid their respects to the young Peachlanders who never came home from war.
“It’s emotional,” said Mayor Cindy Fortin.
“These 21 young men are real people – even younger than my own children now.”
The Field of Crosses project is similar to ones in Kelowna and Calgary, says the Peachland Rotary’s Chris Southin. From researching each one of the Peachlanders killed in action during WW1 and WW2, to ordering the crosses and carefully measuring them out and placing them the day before the ceremony, the group is grateful it all came together in a public display leading up to Nov. 11.
“In this year of COVID, when our ability to have large gatherings of Remembrance is limited, this Field of Crosses is an appropriate way to honour those from Peachland who did not return,” he says.
Here are their names:
Sgt. Harold Birkett
Pte. Frank Chapman
Corporal William Dryden
Pte. Ernest McKay
Pte. John Morrison
Pte. Charles Needham
Pte. George Needham
Pte. Norman Pope
Lance Cpl. Alex Seaton
Pte. Archie Seaton
Pte. Emmett Shaw
Pte. Charles Sutherland
Pte. Arthur Theobald
Pte. Herbert Vivian
Private Royal Edwin Bartee
Warrant Officer 2 Raymond Hathaway Wilson
Flying Officer Frederick Henry Mills
Flying Officer George Robert Pringle
By Chris Southin, Rotary Club of Peachland
We just held a distanced and sanitized Pumpkin Patch event trying to boost spirits in a friendly way for all the young spooks and hobgoblins in the area. Halloween is almost here! (We will try that again next year!) We are also donating proceeds from our next fundraiser – a raffle – to the Health Sciences project at the College, purchasing a gurney and hopefully other essential equipment. Stay tuned!
I can’t believe that it’s Polio month again, with October 24 World Polio Day, almost here. The Club will be out on Friday the 23rd morning with their placards and bells!
Why do Rotarians all over the world make such a big thing out of polio? Because it IS a huge thing. Like COVID 19, polio is a virus for which the only real cure is its extermination. Since 1985, Rotary, the World Health Organization and a host of other agencies as well as philanthropists like Bill Gates have been working together funding the “on the ground” fight against polio. Rotarians give from their own pockets voluntarily.
No, I’m not looking for donations: that’s up to the individual. Polio is a devastating disease which kills or leaves survivors with devastating disabilities. Your compassion is what drives your giving.
Fighting disease in the form of polio has been Rotary’s main focus for years. Now they’re funding the necessary follow-up to keep countries polio free, and helping health authorities communicate lifesaving information about COVID-19, donating protective gear and equipment to clinics and hospitals: a new battle.
You may have read recently that sewage is being tested for COVID 19 antibodies in order to identify community hotspots. This is a strategy taken directly from the protocols developed to protect against the recurrence of Polio in the Third World. The techniques developed to deal with mass immunization and follow-up in fighting polio are already being adapted to deal with COVID. We are not re-inventing the wheel!
Learn more at:
Meanwhile, here in Peachland, despite having had to cancel our Murder Mystery evening(s) and our Sip ‘n Savour fundraising events along with the Concerts in the Park and the Seniors Bus Ride we have donated to the food bank, supported local businesses and continued to fund and organize the local Starfish program (for more on that, scroll further down.)
This year The Rotary Club of Peachland were again awarded a Shelterbox Bronze Award for donations from the community and from members. We provided support again to the Cops For Kids Ride, in which Peachland is always represented by our own, always giving, pharmacist, Garnet Lloyd, who rides every year.
Finally, Africa was officially declared a polio-free continent, just last month! Afghanistan and Pakistan remain! Won’t it be wonderful when we can declare the world both Polio and COVID free!
Here’s some more info on the Starfish Program, from September..
Peachland Rotarians are also gearing up for Back to School – and they need our help, so they can fill backpacks full of nutritious food for local families.
This is the third year for the Rotary’s Starfish Pack program at Peachland Elementary. The Rotary relies on financial donations, so groceries can be purchased for a family to have over the weekend. Each Friday, the backpacks are sent home with students, who bring it back on Monday to be filled again.
Program Coordinator Jane Tench says this year’s challenge is there’s more families to feed, and likely, less money coming in from
local groups and businesses who normally donate.
“There’s very much a need in Peachland, there really is,” she says, noting it’s really all walks of life and types of families, from single moms, to people who have never been in this position before.
So, what can you do? While the yearly cost to provide food for one child is $525, Tench says any amount of money is welcome. Tax receipts are available, and this year, the Peachland Food Bank is helping out with the administrative end of things. Cheques can be made out to the Peachland Food Bank (with a notation that it’s for the Starfish Backpack Program).
Tench says in addition to SaveOn Foods in Westbank, Cobbs has also been a great supporter, with their donations of fresh-baked bread, muffins and buns.
She adds although program participants are anonymous, she knows the Rotary’s efforts are appreciated.
“I was in the grocery store one day and a little boy about this high with his mom says ‘hey mom, theres’ the lady who brings the good bread!’ I didn’t know who he was, but obviously he knew me, and it made my day.”
Here’s what a couple other families had to say:
“This backpack has been very helpful at tough times. I really appreciated having the fresh fruit for my child. If my house is running low I always look forward to it. Thank you as well for the gift card at Christmas. Sometimes something like that can mean everything. Thank you for caring. You are amazing, thank you!
“I would like to thank you for providing the Starfish backpacks for my children. It helps top us up every week, as we can only go to the food bank once a month. Everything is great…we are very thankful.”
If you want to donate to the Starfish program, drop off a cheque at Peachland Pharmacy, or you can mail it. Here’s their address:
5848A Beach Ave, Peachland BC
Back in July, Peachland Rotary members presented their annual $1,000 donation to Cops for Kids.
“We’ve been supporting them since 2001 and in 2015 we made a commitment that we would support them with $1,000 every year,” says Chris Boyle, Peachland Rotary’s director of public image.
Cops for Kids is an RCMP charity that raises money for kids facing crisis / medical need. Their big event is in September, and it’s changed a bit because of COVID. Instead of a 30-member team pedalling across the region, a few local riders will be designated to complete one leg on behalf of the rest of the team. The remaining team members will continue to pedal 100 km each day at home. You can join the ride virtually while making a donation to the cause.
The Wellness Centre would like to thank the Peachland Rotary for their generous donation of an automated external defibrillator (AED) which will now be kept on-site. Pictured here is Christina MacMaster, PWC Executive Coordinator holding the new device and Peggy Southin, past President of the Rotary Club of Peachland presenting a cheque for the AED, in the amount of $1,800.
About the Peachland Rotary:
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, 2020 story: COVID-19 concern cancels Peachland wine festival