Easter basket project finishes up

A portion of the basket barrage.

A collection of Easter baskets created from donations to SRC and the Greenbush YMCA was delivered to Circles of Mercy headquarters today.

A team of volunteers from the club and the Y finished assembling the baskets on Thursday at the Y. Thanks to all who were involved including Lois Hannan who headed up the club’s effort and Shannon Romanowski who headed up the Y’s effort.

Part of the basket assembly brigade. From left: Jim Leyhane, Lois Hannan, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martinez, Shannon Romanowski.
Volunteers parcel out basket items.

Easter basket assembly volunteers needed

We’re looking for volunteers to assemble donated items into finished baskets for needy kids in Circles of Mercy’s annual Easter Basket drive.

Member Shannon Romanowski informs us a basket assembly session is scheduled for this Thursday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Greenbush YMCA. However, she needs to know ASAP how many people plan to volunteer their time. You can call her at the Y at 518-477-2570, extension 1200, or contact Debbie Rodriguez.

Shannon and Y staff plan to deliver the completed baskets to Circles of Mercy on Friday.

Even if you plan to help but don’t want to miss our dinner meeting that same day, the Y is close to Moscatiello’s so you can leave a few minutes before the end of the session and still make it to the dinner where we will have two guest speakers from the Capital Roots community garden and nutrition services organization.

Wanted: Easter basket project coordinator

Your club is looking for a volunteer coordinator for our annual participation in the Circles of Mercy “Cate’s Kids Easter Basket Program.”

Club President Debbie Rodriguez will be asking at Thursday’s dinner meeting at Moscatiello’s for people to work on coordinating our effort to provide baskets for needy kids in Circles’ area of service in Rensselaer County. It’s a short-term but important role that will allow people to continue Rotary’s community service component.

Easter this year falls on Sunday, April 17. We hope to have completed baskets delivered to Circles no later than Monday, April 4, so they can be assigned and delivered to client families the week before the holiday. That also provides sufficient time for Circles to spend any monetary donations to fill the recipient families’ needs.

We will be publishing on our club website and Facebook page a shopping list for the project. Meanwhile, please consider your level of participation in this very worthwhile undertaking.

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.

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!


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.

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 the Adopt-a-Family shopping list update

AS OF 7:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY, 12/8/21


We’re steadily adding to our pledges of “Adopt-a-Family” gifts for the Monroe family, although we still have plenty of “needs to have” shopping list items remaining to be claimed. In particular, the shopping list for the 12-year-old boy is in need of attention.

The last gift drop-off is scheduled for 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. this WEDNESDAY in the Moscatiello’s parking lot. Look for project coordinator Bill Dowd who will be there to load gifts into his car, a white Subaru Impreza. Please be sure all gifts are wrapped and tagged with the recipients’ names. If you are contributing gift cards, please be sure they are activated.

Scroll down for the latest spreadsheet update and check out what is NOT in red if you want to contribute. Also, if you’d prefer contributing a gift card, see below for some suggestions.


We’re already doing great with our “Adopt-a-Family” effort for Circles of Mercy. As we progress, we’ll keep updating the spreadsheet below so those of you who wish to participate do not duplicate purchases.

Anyone who wants to supplement the overall gift for the Monroe family may wish to purchase gift cards for such businesses as Stewart’s, Walmart, Aldi, or any such place in the Rensselaer area.

You’ll note that only one family is on the spreadsheet. We had two, but the Greenbush YMCA is using its relationship with a local Target store to handle the other family, as explained in an e-mail sent to all members today.

Please note: Anything marked in red on the spreadsheet already has been spoken for. Please keep checking back on a daily basis to see what still is needed. All gifts must be wrapped and labeled with the intended recipient’s name. They may be dropped off to Bill Dowd in the Moscatiello’s parking lot between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Thursday, December 2, and Thursday, December 9.

Thanks to all who already are helping and those who will.

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.


• 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.

Annual school supplies donations delivered

SRC’s annual participation in the Circles of Mercy “Back-to-School Supplies” drive has been completed, and donations delivered to the family-aid organization.

Ray and Lois Hannan were this year’s project coordinators. They report that nine members donated supplies and two others donated checks to the effort for needy students in the Rensselaer City School District.

The club thanks the Hannans and those who contributed to the project.