Nearly time to get your party hat on!

Well, another messy year is nearly down the drain. So, don your party hat — and probably your face mask, depending on what you plan on doing — and jump into 2022 in just a little over two days from now.

We’re not sure what the world has in store for us in the new year, but we do know some of the things the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club has lined up.

Such programs as a travelogue to a forgotten city, the resumption of our annual trivia competition, and presentations by a variety of speakers all are on tap. You can get the details by regularly visiting our club calendar online.

And remember, we’re always looking for more programs. Just check the calendar to see what’s available, then contact Becky Raymond or Kevin Leyhane to lock in the date you want and provide them with the details.

Meanwhile, begin the countdown, and … Happy New Year!

Thanks again for your generosity!

Just a part of the bounty of gifts you donated this year.

Imagine thinking your young children would be waking up tomorrow morning to a very sparse Christmas. Now, imagine as a single parent receiving a call from Circles of Mercy, telling you not to be concerned, the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club has come through once again.

That’s what happened thanks to our “Adopt-a-Family” effort for 2021, with a big boost from the Greenbush YMCA. Two moms and six kids are receiving a variety of “needs to have” and “nice to have” items donated by the generous folks of both of these organizations, and a few of their friends.

To all who helped in one way or another — wrapped gifts, gift cards, pickups, deliveries, etc. — thank you, thank you, thank you.

Holiday frivolity, and welcome to a new member

A seasonal salute to Rotary.

After a year off because of you-know-what, the “SRC Holiday Party & Basket Silent Auction” returned on Thursday evening, with a large group assembling at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant for dinner, fellowship, and some catching up among people who hadn’t seen each other in a while.

In addition to the fun, we raised more than $600 for the club treasury through the silent auction.Thanks to all who contributed themed baskets, and to those who bid on them.

Another one of the highlights was the official induction of Tony Morris as a member of Rotary, with Jim Leyhane doing the honors. Tony has been part of SRC for a while, but COVID restrictions delayed the formality. Welcome, Tony!

The dinner was the last SRC event of 2021, but we are lining up plenty of activities for the new year. Just make a practice of regularly checking the website calendar page to stay in the loop.

Meanwhile, here are a few more scenes from the evening captured by Bill Dowd and Roberto. Special thanks to Debbie Brown for providing the floral table decorations. And, thanks to Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane for arranging the dinner.

It may look something like The Last Supper, but it isn’t. We’ll have more.

Tony raises the flag after his induction by Jim.

Bidding early, bidding often.

Tangible proof that the basket fundraiser was paying off.

Mary Drumm and the Brewers catching up.
Bill & April Dowd pose for the camera.
Phil Kellerman and Andy Leyhane exchange beer tips.
April visits with (some of) the Leyhanes.
Roberto Martinez and his infectious smile.
Tony & Debbie Morris await his induction.
Debbie Brown ponders a bid.
Pat Bailey and Chuck Rodriguez deep in financial discussion.
Some more relaxed chat.

A picture of contentment.

Some late Christmas shopping?

Donation dropoffs have … dropped off

The second of two scheduled dropoff dates for donations to our annual “Adopt-a-Family” drive for the holidays was scheduled for today at Moscatiello’s.

How did we do? How many people showed up?

Drum roll, please!

1

That’s right. Exactly one person showed up at the 5:30-6:00 p.m. session.

This year we have only one family, a small one — a mom and two kids — to buy for. (We had accepted two families proposed by Circles of Mercy, but the Greenbush YMCA volunteered to take the other.) Nevertheless, we have a significant number of items on the recommended shopping list still unfilled.

We’ll be discussing the situation during Thursday’s 7 p.m. Zoom meeting to see what we can do to return to our usual level of holiday giving. Meanwhile, here’s the latest update as of 7:30 p.m. this evening. Items in red are taken care of, all others still are needed.

Is your basket ready? Some last-minute ideas

Today is December 7. That means in just nine days we’ll be resuming our annual Holiday Party & Basket Auction, a festive event that was derailed last year by the pandemic. Are you ready?

The key to a good time is creation of themed gift baskets (cost in the $35-40 range) that fellow partygoers can bid on as a way to raise funds for our treasury in support of community service activities.

We’ve been sharing some basket ideas over the past month (see here and here), and this post has several more if your imaginations need jump-starting. Just bring the finished products with you to Moscatiello’s at 6 p.m. on Thursday, December 16, when fully-vaxxed Rotarians and friends of Rotary gather to ring in the holiday season. No advance reservations needed.

What’s on the dinner menu for Thursday?

We hope you are planning to join your fellow Rotarians for dinner this Thursday at Moscatiello’s? If so, you’ll have the choice of one of three entrees:

• spaghetti and meatballs with marina sauce
• chicken Caesar salad
• baked ziti

No need to reserve in advance. Just let us know your choice when you arrive. And remember, a cash bar is available to find a beverage complement to your meal. (If you’re not planning to attend, you can email your proxy to Debbie Rodriguez at debannrod@yahoo.com no later than Wednesday. You’ll be counted as “present” for quorum purposes.)

Our guest speaker will be Richard Zazycki, executive director of Circles of Mercy, who will share his thoughts on running a family aid organization under pandemic conditions.

And remember, Thursday will be one of just two drop-off days for your donations (the other is Wednesday, December 8) to our “Adopt-a-Family” holiday project. Coordinator Bill Dowd will be posted in the Moscatiello’s parking lot from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. each of those days to receive your wrapped-and-labeled donations. (Look for his white Subaru Impreza.)

NOTE: Please do not bring gifts into the restaurant, even if you plan to stay for dinner. We don’t want to intrude on other customers’ space.

Here’s our Adopt-a-Family information

SRC Rotary Club / Circles of Mercy


We have just received the names and shopping lists for the two families SRC has been assigned for the annual “Circles of Mercy Adopt-a-Family” project. The information is on the two spreadsheets shown below.

Here’s how we’re handling it this year in view of the fact we are not meeting in person each week

• Please select which item(s) you would like to donate, and email project coordinator Bill Dowd via SRCrotary@gmail.com to let him know your choices. He’ll continually update the spreadsheet on the club website so everyone can see it and avoid duplicating gifts already spoken for.

All donations must be gift wrapped and clearly labeled as to recipient.

• Any monetary donations should be done in the form of gift cards placed in envelopes marked with the name of the intended recipients.

• Donations may be brought to our dinner meetings at Moscatiello’s on either December 2 (when Circles Executive Director Richard Zazycki will be our guest speaker) or December 9. Those are the only dropoff dates.

NOTES: 

• Bill has to inventory and deliver all donations to Circles by December 15, so your dropoffs in a timely fashion are very important. 

• Even if you don’t plan to stay for the dinner and meeting on those two dates, Bill will be available in the Moscatiello’s parking lot at the side of the building from 5:30 to 6 p.m. to accept your donations.

As always, thank you for your generosity. In these unusually trying times you’ll be helping needy families have a holiday they otherwise might not be able to imagine.

How are your raffle gift baskets coming along?

After a COVID-induced break in our annual Holiday Party & Gift Basket Raffle last December, we’re back on schedule with a 3B (basket bidding battle) dinner at Moscatiello’s on Thursday, December 16.

We’ve been dropping large hints on how to come up with a theme for your baskets (in the $35-or-so range to create) to help jump-start your imaginations. Here are some more.

To begin with, “baskets” can be any type of container, such as these:

Then, of course, the contents are up to you. In the past, we’ve had wine baskets, candy collections, cheeses-and-crackers, movie-and-popcorn combos, children’s toys, soaps and lotions, craft beers and munchies … It’s limited only by your imagination. And, if you feel particularly creative, don’t feel constrained to creating just one basket. The more the merrier!

For those new to the process, it’s a simple one. Baskets are arranged on tables with bidding sheets next to them. Party-goers jot down their bids, with the highest bidder winning the basket. All proceeds go to the club’s general treasury to help support our community service initiatives.

So, be sure to mark December 16 on your calendar and plan to join your fully vaxxed fellow Rotarians and their guests at Moscatiello’s to ring in the holiday season in fine form.

Wine treat basket

Green thumb collection

Bloody Mary in a basket
Italian dinner in a colander
Something to satisfy the sweet tooth

YMCA’s Thanksgiving basket drive under way

SRC President Debbie Rodriguez (left) presents a club check for $250 to SRC member Shannon Romanowski, director of the Greenbush YMCA, to help support the Y’s annual “Community Basket Brigade” for Thanksgiving.

The event feeds local families in need for the holiday, and the Y is accepting donations of money and basket items through Monday, November 15. Go here for details on the event and how you can participate.