A substitute set up crew meant equipment failure, but we persevered anyway, and learned about feeding the hungry in Pierce County.
 
Notes from the November 2 meeting of
The Rotary Club of Clover Park
recorded by Tom McClellan
 
The meeting started on time, and the president, at least, had a working microphone.  But with our normal set up crew away this week, something weird was bound to happen.  More on that below.  President Becky Newton offered thanks anyway, and also thanked Tom Faubion for serving as greeter. 
 
Jeannie Hill got us in the mood of fellowship and service with a couple of inspirational quotes:
 
1. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.  - - - Mahatma Gandhi
 
2. When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.  - - - Alexander Graham Bell
 
Future Programs
Nov. 9     Robert Hildreth, Dominican Republic Reading Project
Nov. 16   Chris Loftis, WA State Patrol
Nov. 23   Chris Aubertin, Tacoma Rainiers Baseball Club
 
Foundation Minute
With Georgene Mellom away, in stepped her deputy Scott Adams to read a quotation from Rotary Foundation Trustee Chairman Ian H.S. Riseley:
 
This month, as we celebrate The Rotary Foundation, let’s remember that each Foundation project is much like planting a tree.  With each sapling of hope, health, and peace, we make an investment in the future that will one day grow into something greater.  Charity Navigator, an independent agency, has given The Rotary Foundation its highest ranking for more than a decade.  Why?  Our overhead expense level is much lower than most similar organizations – 89% of gifts to the Foundation went to programs and operations in Rotary year 2021-22.  The Foundation, run by your fellow Rotarians, is a charity you can trust. 
 
However, only about 38% of members actively support our own organization’s great charity.  We can and should do better.  Just as I challenged you to plant trees as president, as Foundation trustee chairman I would like to challenge each club to make a giving plan for our Rotary Foundation this year.  Imagine our impact – Rotary’s great forest of hope and peace that will flourish – so please give. 
 
Announcements
Gretchen Allen said that 3 new member candidates are currently working through the process.  Look for more information about that soon.
 
Scott Adams noted that he had a great time gathering with others at Georgene Mellom’s Foundation fundraiser gathering back on Oct. 25.
 
Sue Potter mentioned the Waste Connections “Build A Bike” event that we learned about last week, and solicited volunteers to help out with that effort, Saturday Nov. 12 at 9 AM out at the Waste Connections facility in Fredrickson.  Contact Sue Potter to sign up to participate. 
 
Katelyn Billingsley says that her restaurant, Moonrise Café, is serving as a dropoff point for food items for the Lakewood Rotary Club’s “little free pantries”.  They welcome all items, but especially ones that are easy to open and prepare by kids.  Juices, fruit, applesauce, tuna pouches, and as always peanut butter are good suggestions.  
 
The meeting actually proceeded pretty well, but with both David Cotant and Mike Killen out this week, the task fell to an unqualified deputy (your scribe) to set up everything for the meeting.  It all went mostly, except that our club’s LCD projector picked this week to finally die (it has been heading south for a while).  Thankfully, our guest speaker did not have a PowerPoint to share, and a gently-used replacement projector has already been secured for future meetings. 
 
 
President’s Minute
Becky read a thank you note from ShelterBox, noting that they have been doing a lot to help Ukrainian refugees.  They have contributed:
  • 12,000 mattresses
  • 5,000 household emergency shelter kits
  • 19,000 hygiene kits
  • Cash assistance
Becky also handed out copies of the updated club budget, for both our General Fund and our Charities Account.  These budgets were originally formulated and approved by the board back in June ahead of this new Rotary year, but then completion of tax returns in September allows us to do a little bit of tweaking.  The Club’s policy is to keep one year’s worth of funds on hand in the General Fund account as a cushion, and so after the final bookkeeping is done for the year, any excess gets moved over to the Charities Account.  If you would like to see a copy of the revised budget, please contact Becky Newton.
 
Becky noted that she is going to shake up our meeting program schedule a little bit.  On Dec. 14, there will be no guest speaker, and instead that portion of the meeting will be devoted to committees meeting.  And Dec. 21 will be a “fellowship meeting”, again with no guest speaker. 
 
 
Fun And Fines
Deputy Finexecutrix Katelyn Billingsley was once again in charge, and this time it was a game of Truth Or Dare.  But first we got through a few confessions:
 
Jim Hairston had a 20-day trip to Arizona and back, by car.  He missed all of us while he was gone on the trip.
 
Bob Lawrence had a 2-day trip to Fresno for his son’s birthday.
 
Jeannie Hill got some “ink”, in the form of a Suburban Times article about her performance at the recent Film Art Book (FAB) Fest. 
 
Katelyn Billingsley then added her own confession, having taken a 2-night anniversary trip to Long Beach. 
 
In this week’s episode of Truth Or Dare, several Rotarians were called upon to play the game, with little assurance of what the rules were or how it would all go.  First up was Alan Billingsley, the father-in-law of our finexecutrix, a relationship which led him to face the choice of either cracking an egg of unknown provenance on his head, or paying $20.  He took the latter.
 
Scott Adams was next up, and had to either pay $5 or share with us the best compliment ever received.  He paid the $5.
 
Hallie McCurdy was next in line, and had to either pay a fine or sing a line from her favorite song.  She paid. 
 
Your editor opines that this small sampling may demonstrate that we don’t have a very “daring” set of members in our club. 
 
 
This Week’s Program 
Dawn Whitman is the director of St. Leo’s Food Connection.  She started out there years ago as just a volunteer, but found her calling in its mission.  She has had just about every job involved with its operation.It started out small in 1982, with just a few items in a shed on parish property in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma.  Since then it has grown to encompass their main food bank, the Springbrook food bank, and the kids' program which our club has supported financially in the past.  
 
 
Thus far in 2022, there have been 40,000 family visits (some of which are duplicates).  50% of those served are children or seniors.  Under Covid, St. Leo’s was able to continue its indoor shopping practice, plus do some home deliveries.
 
St. Leo’s is now serving several “clean and sober” programs, so customers can stay in the program and have food without the stress of going out to find food.  They are doing pop up markets at apartments and at clean and sober facilities.  After years of trying different approaches, they have found that operating in a quasi-store format, where customers select the items they actually want, works better than having staff pre-package items.  They find that this cuts down on waste.
 
The Springbrook mobile food bank started 12 years ago, serving a lower income neighborhood that is a “food desert”, with only a gas station convenience store.  It is done weekly with the truck making 3 stops.
 
The children’s weekend backpack and summer meals program grew out of a need by kids who get fed breakfast and lunch at school, but have little food at home.  It serves selected schools in the Clover Park, Tacoma, and Puyallup School Districts.  So far this year, 10,500 weekend bags have gone home with items easy for the child to prepare.  Last summer they served 10,000 weekday meals.
 
Dawn says that she and her staff are trying to change the language about who comes to the food bank.  The needs and circumstances vary quite a bit.  Some are long term poor, others find themselves in a sudden circumstance of need after getting a big medical bill, for example.  Awareness of the resources at the food bank comes about by word of mouth, and some referrals by schools.
 
St. Leo’s has dedicated trucks doing “grocery rescue” from grocery stores, wholesalers, and restaurants.  Wholesalers with a pallet full of canned food, for example, might find damage to one layer of the pallet.  But it is not worth their time to have staff repackage it, so St. Leo’s picks up the whole pallet. 
 
Staff is 6 full time, 2 part time, plus volunteers and community service workers who help run the store.  Many volunteers are current and former clients.  Funding comes from grants, government programs at multiple levels, and 1/3 of funding is from individual donors. 
 
Much of the food that they can get is acquired free of cost, but requires fuel to go and fetch.  So a $1 donation can turn into $12-$15 of food provided.
 
 
Raffle
Jack Kammer drew an ace last week, and so this week’s pot started out fresh.  With $73 up for grabs, and the deck still holding 3 aces and 2 jokers, Jeannie Hill had the winning ticket but no luck in the draw. 
 
 
 
And Finally…
Companies often face frustrations when dealing with customers, but this approach seems a bit extreme.