Special to The NEWS
Rotary has made amazing strides towards eradicating polio, and the service organization is known for providing humanitarian aid around the globe, but some might not realize the impact that four local Rotary Clubs have had on improving our own residents’ lives.
Local Rotary Clubs have stepped forward to support the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program many times over the years. The program ensures all local children and youth have a special gift to unwrap Christmas morning, and that families and individuals can enjoy a meaningful meal with dignity over the holidays. To donate to the program visit the SOS website www.sosd69.com, call 250-248-2093 or drop by the SOS Child, Youth & Family Centre in Parksville.
Garry Cox is the president of the Rotary Club of Parksville AM and said beyond their international work, Rotary Clubs are encouraged to participate in local projects.
“I believe that having my Rotary Club and its members involved in the SOS Caring for Kids Christmas program is one of the best opportunities for Rotary to do good in our own community, while at the same time, bringing some joyful memories to children and youth right here in the Oceanside area.”
The Parksville AM Club also provides scholarships to local high school students, they assist the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre with projects, and they do a Rotary Youth Exchange every summer, among other local projects.
Mike Haas, president of the Qualicum Sunrise Club, said the largest part of their annual budget goes back into the local community. In the past this has included supporting Arrowsmith Search & Rescue, Oceanside Hospice Society, Manna Homeless Society, the Salvation Army and the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas Program, among other groups. The Parksville AM and the Qualicum Sunrise clubs also run the Coats for Kids program, where some coats are distributed through SOS.
Matt Breedlove, president of the Parksville Noon Club, said his club focuses on youth. The SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas program provides a variety of gift options for youth, so they may also feel the magic of the holiday season. Besides their support for the SOS Christmas program, the Parksville Noon Club has also supported the Ballenas Whalers, the Oceanside Generals and the Rotary International Youth Exchange. They also host the Mosaic Youth Talent Showcase and give scholarships to help pursue performing arts and they provide scholarship money to local students, among other support.
In addition to supporting a number of local causes including SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas, the Qualicum Beach Evening Club supports the annual Fire Camp attended by local high school students.