By David Andrews/Past President, Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood
The members of the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parwkood have been busy serving the local and world community during this Rotary year, which ends on June 30, 2020, even with the COVID-19 pandemic, led by current Rotary Club President Lennis Trotter.
“During the first nine months of the Rotary year, in an effort to focus on the relevant current issues of the day in and around Oshawa and beyond, it was business as usual as we hosted many community leaders at our regular weekly meetings, held at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club,” said Trotter.
Locally, the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, together with the Optimist Club of Ajax, the Whitby Lions Club and the Durham Regional Police Service, continued their strong support as board members at the newly renovated and expanded Kids’ Safety Village of Durham Region. Again this Rotary year, which begins each July, they hosted the Halloween Haunt in October and Christmas at The Village in December.
The Rotary Clubs of Oshawa, and Oshawa-Parkwood, together with Durham College, hosted and broadcast their second annual livestream World Polio Day event to the world on World Polio Day, on Oct. 24 to thousands world-wide from the Durham College Global Classroom.
The Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, along with the Oshawa Rotary Club, and the other 10 Rotary clubs in Durham Region, were awarded certificates by Regional Chair and fellow Rotarian John Henry, along with the mayors of the various cities, all of whom proclaimed Oct. 24 as World Polio Day, thanking the Rotary clubs all over the world who continue to raise funds to continue their work to eradicate polio from the world.
Here are just a few of the organizations supported this year by the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood: Simcoe Hall Settlement House; Sharon’s Kids program Lakeridge Health (with two WiFi enabled SMART IV pumps, which help Lakeridge staff better control how medications and fluids are given to patients); the Trillium Gift of Life; McLaughlin C.V.I. Bursary program; walking in the annual Remembrance Day Parade and wreath ceremony at Memorial Park; the annual Christmas party for the residents and staff of Participation House; the Krinkle Project, the YWCA, and Ontario Shores.
The Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood also supported many international projects, such as Adopt A Village in Laos, which provides clean water to many rural villages in Laos; the Guatemala Literacy Project, a network of individual Rotarians, Rotary clubs and districts improving education for underserved students in Guatemala; and the Canadian Aid for Education, whose efforts support education programs in developing countries such as Dominican Republic, Peru, Bangladesh, Chile and El Salvador, by supporting people in their struggle for education, and in some small way, empower them to take control of their future.
Through a humanitarian grant from The Rotary Foundation, the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood partnered with the Rotary Club of Whitby-Sunrise and the Rotary Clubs in Ganguly India and completed their project of a school bus, washroom facilities, and school supplies for a school in rural India. Very recently, the Rotary Club has supported a major water and sanitation project in Ghana, with the help of another grant from The Rotary Foundation.
Their annual fundraising, which makes their service projects work so effectively, include Bingo at Red Barn, their first fashion show held at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in the fall of 2019, and their annual Rotary Reverse Draw, Dinner & Silent Auction Gala, held each spring at the Oshawa Golf and Curling Club.
“In March, the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives forever and the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood adapted to the changing times and needs of our community,” added Trotter.
“Rotary’s theme for the 2019-2020 Rotary year was ‘Rotary Connects the World.’ Little did we know how significant this has become during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Our regular Rotary club meetings changed to online weekly Zoom meetings. Our support changed to help organizations like Feed The Need In Durham, which provides perishable as well as non-perishable food to emergency food providers throughout the region; the Back Door Mission for the Relief of Poverty, which provides washrooms, showers, food and other resources to those with little or no shelter; and Camp Samac, which is being used to provide shelter and support services for up to 25 members of Durham’s homeless population, replacing the warming centres at First Light Foundation of Hope in Oshawa and Christian Faith Outreach.
“This year, in these unprecedented times, we have reached out to the citizens of Oshawa for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will match their donations, dollar for dollar, up to $5,000, which will go to our community organizations that need help servicing our local community,” said Trotter.
“The Rotary Club’s work is ongoing. Club members continually research both local and international projects for opportunities to assist wherever they can to improve the lives in Oshawa and throughout the world,” he added.
“The Rotary Club continues to grow with six new members this year and we are always looking for new members who wish to have fun, and at the same time, give back to their community,” he said.
“COVID-19 brought new challenges to our Rotary club. But the humanitarian service remains our primary focus.”
The Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood is made up of local business, professional, and civic leaders. They meet regularly, get to know each other, form friendships and through that, they are able to get things done in our community.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. The first Rotary club was founded in Chicago in 1905.