October 5, 2017, Vineland NJ – When Caitlin Terry, an honorary member of the Vineland Rotary Club, asked club members to donate towards an international project, she was surprised by the club’s response. Terry, who works for Hydromissions International building water wells around the world, wanted to know if the club would help with a project she was involved with, making “Healthy Bags for Happy Kids” in remote mountainous areas of Haiti. Proposed by the Haitian organization, Faith and Love in Action, the project aims to help Haitian children live a cleaner, happier life. These bags will be Christmas presents for Haitian children who live in the mountains and don’t have access to hygiene products, toys, and school supplies.
Not only did Vineland Rotarians collectively donate more than $500 towards the project, they committed to filling 150 one-gallon bags to be sent to children in the impoverished Caribbean country. Shirley Burke, international service chair, organized the project and Bonnie Laube, club treasurer, purchased the items for the club. After the club’s lunch meeting on Tuesday, October 3, several dozen members formed an assembly line to fill the bags with notebooks, pencils, sharpeners, erasers, balls, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and combs.
“I find it really heartwarming to see the enthusiasm and generosity of our members when they come together on these humanitarian projects,” said Burke.
While a portion of the funds raised by the Rotary club were used to buy the supplies to fill the bags, the remainder will be used to ship the bags to Haiti and then transport them to villages in the mountains.
“I am so excited by Vineland Rotary’s generous donation,” said Terry. “We are collecting a total of 500 bags from service groups and individuals in the South Jersey region. The mountain school that will receive these bags is in an area of Haiti that is only accessible by foot or by donkey, so the route is a long one for these special hygiene bags. The students will receive the bags for Christmas from Faith and Love in Action’s local teachers and I will follow-up in January when I head there for my next project.”
As signified by the motto, Service Above Self, Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Aside from the water well and “Healthy Bags” projects, Vineland Rotarians sprang into action in June 2017 to package 20,000 six-person family meals for distribution to local food banks, and in February 2017 they assembled 10 prosthetic “Helping Hands” to be shipped to amputees in third-world countries.
To be part of the dozens of projects like these, join the Rotary Club for lunch to learn more. The Rotary Club of Vineland meets on Tuesdays, at 12:10 PM at the Vineland Ramada Inn. For more information, visit www.vinelandrotary.com.