Easter basket project a smashing success

Columbia High students assembling baskets.
Assembling gift baskets at Columbia High School.

The family assistance organization Circles of Mercy each year conducts “Easter Baskets for Cate’s Kids,” a drive to deliver holiday baskets to needy children ages 2 to 12.

Last year, the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club joined in that effort, collecting enough items — holiday candies, coloring books, small toys, dental hygiene items, etc. — to fill 20 baskets. This year, we outdid that, by about 150%.

With the enthusiastic efforts of students and staff at John Sawchuk’s Columbia High School, who went above and beyond their 17 basket pledge to provide nearly 30 in their first year of participation, we ended up delivering about 50 baskets to Circles of Mercy.

Len Leonidas’ Cub Scouts — using contributions from the SRC club and individual Rotarians — and the folks at Shannon Romanowski’s Greenbush YMCA rounded out the total.

In every instance, we had kids helping less-fortunate kids, an added bonus to the project and something we hope will instill in them a spirit of giving they can carry throughout their lives.

Our thanks to all who participated in any way, large or small.


Another chance for a Christmas ‘adoption’

Doors listAt last week’s meeting, Bill Dowd indicated we had a tremendous response to the Circles of Mercy “Adopt-a-Family for Christmas” request. SRC Rotarians filled the donations for the family in less than a half-hour.

I know that several SRC Club members did not get to participate in this project, so we have added a second opportunity to donate — to a 10-year-old girl through the Doors Of Hope’s “Adopt-a-Family” program in Averill Park.

I will follow a similar process as Bill’s in getting donors from the club. Please identify an item that you are willing to donate and let me know. I will take care of the delivery to Doors of Hope on Friday, December 18.

I would like to see some of our Thursday Breakfast Club Rotarians participate in this project.

Thanks,

Terry Brewer


And, once again, a good time was had by all

Screen shot 2014-12-19 at 1.38.54 PMOn a festive winter evening, the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club gathered at the Forth manse for its annual Holiday Party & Silent Auction.

To the accompaniment of some imaginative baskets created for the fundraising auction, the prime rib dinner from our own Jim Mendrysa of Talk of the Town catering, hors d’oeuvres and desserts brought along by club members, a good time was had by all on Thursday evening.

Among the guests was a last-minute surprise, District Governor Dave Hennel, who had planned to attend our regular meeting but found out we had something special in mind on this particular Thursday.

As always, the club extends its thanks to Maggie and Murray for doing all the work involved in hosting the affair. Below are some photos of the event, taken by Bill Dowd (which explains why he isn’t in any of them).

Maggie Forth jots down a silent auction bid.
Party hostess Maggie Forth jots down a silent auction bid.
Jim Mendrysa's signature prime rib.
Jim Mendrysa’s signature prime rib.
Len and Jan load up on the prime rib buffet.
Len and Jan Leonidas lead the buffet charge.
Carol Orvis and Dick Drumm catch up.
Carol Orvis and Dick Drumm catch up.
Mary Drumm and Pat Bailey make their selections.
Mary Drumm and Pat Bailey ponder their selections.
Dean and Doris Calamaras getting serious.
Dean and Doris Calamaras getting serious about their meal.
Murray Forth chats with DG Dave Hennel.
Party host Murray Forth chats with District Governor Dave Hennel.
A father-and-son moment.
A father-and-son moment.
Terry, Betty and Geoff Brewer preparing to chow down.
Terry, Betty and Geoff Brewer preparing to chow down.
April Dowd savors a bite of prime rib as Murray looks on.
April Dowd savors a bite of prime rib as Murray looks on.
Kaila, Carol Orvis's granddaughter, tries her hand at a basket bid.
Kaila, Carol Orvis’s granddaughter, tries her hand at a basket bid.
Now, this is a group intent on their plates.
Now, this is a group intent on their plates.

You don't say!
You don’t say!


Deck the halls … and tables … and baskets …

Screen shot 2013-12-20 at 3.51.07 PMSeveral dozen Rotarians and family members driving up to the home of Peter and Debbie Brown Thursday evening were greeted by the glow of candlelight in the windows of the sprawling historic house.

Inside, the warmth continued, with the annual SRC Holiday Party and a delicious traditional prime rib dinner catered by club member Jim Mendrysa’s Talk of the Town.

Good fellowship, good food, good wine and cocktails … good grief, we had a good time!

A silent auction was part of the event, with themed gift baskets brought by many members resulted in spirited bidding for the benefit of the winners as well as the club treasury.

Here are just a few scenes from the event. And with them, we wish a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all, until we meet again on January 2, our first gathering of 2014.

President April presents a certificate and check to Diane Leyhane in appreciation for her support of the club as a non-member (even though she is in our hearts).
President April presents a certificate and check to Diane Leyhane in appreciation for her support of the club as a non-member (even though she is in our hearts).
Likerwise, Maggie Forth received the same non-member award of appreciation for her frequent and cheerful support of the club.
Likerwise, Maggie Forth received the same non-member award of appreciation for her frequent and cheerful support of the club.
Jim Mendrysa oversees the setup of the meal.
Jim Mendrysa oversees the setup of the meal.

Party3

Party5

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Party7

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Screen shot 2013-12-20 at 3.40.25 PM

Party9

Party6

Screen shot 2013-12-20 at 3.41.08 PM

Screen shot 2013-12-20 at 4.01.38 PM


Holiday Party nears, baskets and reservations needed

Screen shot 2013-12-14 at 4.34.55 PMWe’re just a few days away from the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club’s annual Holiday Party, this year being held at 6 p.m. Thursday, December 19, at the Browns’ residence in Castleton.

It would be great to bring along a themed gift basket for the silent auction that is a fundraiser for our club’s general treasury. Bidding on the baskets can score you an extra holiday gift, while contributing a clever one can spur the bidding.

Our reservation list is up to 23 as of today. Once we hear from a few stragglers, we’ll be complete. If you plan to attend, please let us know if you are bringing a guest or guests, which is encouraged.

If you cannot attend, please also respond so we know we haven’t missed reaching out to you. We’re submitting the final headcount on Monday morning.


Time to conjure up your holiday gift baskets

Baskets3It’s not too early to begin thinking about creating a themed gift basket for our annual SRC Holiday Party.

For those of you who haven’t participated in the project before, each year we ask club members to come up with a unique basket in the $25 or so range that can be part of our silent auction.

All proceeds from the auction go to the club treasury to support our various service projects. The party will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, December 19, at the Browns’ residence. Jim Mendrysa’s Talk of the Town will cater the event.

We have had a wide variety of baskets in past years. A few examples:

• An “Edible Europe” basket of products, each of which was made in a different country.

• A “baking kit” with brownie mix, spatula and other ingredients.

• Color-themed baskets representing the season.

See what you can come up with. The more unusual, the more fun.