From Larry Jones
District 7190 Governor
In just the last few weeks, we’ve all added new phrases to our everyday language: Flatten the curve, social distancing, and high risk behavior (not staying at home). Our society is in upheaval, but for now we all seem to be taking things in stride. Our attitude toward our own health drives every decision we make.
Rotary clubs have stopped meeting everywhere, except online. In fact, most clubs that have figured out how to use tools like the online conferencing service called Zoom to stay connected. Clubs are learning and adapting to this new reality.
While the obvious choice of clubs is to use social media and digital platforms to stay in touch, clubs increasingly are finding new service opportunities and developing deeper connections to their communities via the worldwide web. In the spirit of Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris, clubs must “evolve to stay relevant.”
For instance, one Rotary club organized a fundraising effort so service people from the restaurant where they take their weekly meal received extra funds to see them through.
Many clubs are donating restaurant-prepared meals to first responders at hospitals, nursing homes, police and fire stations, and in so doing they are helping to keep restaurants cooking.
Other clubs are organizing efforts to provide concierge service to seniors concerned about grocery shopping. Another club has organized members to reach out to 3 to 5 isolated senior citizens each day to ascertain their health and provide emotional support.
Globally, the Rotary Foundation has opened up special grant opportunities for COVID-19 related funding, and the partnerships and decades of technical work that has been done to surveil the polio virus are being marshaled to help track and defeat the coronavirus.
In Bangladesh, Rotarians have organized to create 10,000 units of hand sanitizer which were distributed free to the communities they serve.
In every community, in more ways than you can imagine, Rotarians are making a difference during this extraordinarily challenging time.
It’s simple, really. If you belong to an organization modeled on the principle of “Service Above Self” it is not surprising to find Rotarians running toward a disaster with innovative ideas and boundless energy.
More than ever, perhaps, the world needs Rotary, and Rotary needs you. If you think what we do is important, please reach out to me. Let’s talk about getting you involved.