Local Rotarians are joining a nationwide effort to provide wheelchairs to needy people in the Caribbean. Joe Mason, an assistant governor at Rotary International district 6960, which includes Englewood, Venice and North Port, has big plans to help by raising enough money to buy a half-crate full of wheelchairs.
“On May 1, we’ll deliver the wheelchairs to the Bahamas,” he said. “They’ll distribute through the Caribbean isles.”
The wheelchair purchases will be one of the projects discussed at the Placida Rotary meeting at 6:45 a.m. on Aug. 21 in the Rotonda Hills Country Club at 100 Rotonda Circle, Rotonda. Mason will be the guest speaker.
Brian Faro, vice president of the Placida Rotary club, said the district governor makes an annual visit to each chapter to speak on the Rotary’s direction.
“This year we’re going to be driving up membership,” Faro said.
Lou Long, president of the Placida Rotary, said improving membership has become the club’s primary goal.
“Due to attrition, we’re down to 22 very loyal members,” Long said.
Faro said the meeting will be an open invitation for people to come and find out more about the club.
“We’re looking for business professionals to come in and contribute to the community,” Faro said.
But they’re also focusing on continuing the Rotary’s mission of providing humanitarian service to those in need.
The wheelchair project is looking to raise $11,000, or $100 per chair.
Mason said among items discussed at the meeting will be past projects.
“We’ll also be focusing on details of the current project,” Mason said. He’ll be creating district grants out of Rotary International in Illinois.”
Mason said projects take a year to complete. Some projects are recurring, like the dictionary program at Vineland Elementary School in Rotonda West where the Rotary provides dictionaries annually for every third-grade student, according to Faro.
Mason said he will also discuss ongoing and past Rotary projects such as a well-water retention facility and piping at a village in the island of St. Lucia.
“Those in the village would go for fresh water only five days out of the month from the country-run water distribution center,” he said. “Since our project, they now have access to clean water every day, whereas before they had the danger of potentially dealing with dysentery.”
Mason said they also helped institute a workable financial system in the village by arranging small, very low-interest loans to help kick-start the local economy.
For more information, visit rotarydistrict6960. org.