Easter baskets delivered to Circles of Mercy

Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez, shown above, delivered a gajillion — OK, 126 — Easter baskets to Circles of Mercy to conclude the annual “Baskets for Cate’s Kids” drive.Project coordinator Shannon Romanowski and a team at the Greenbush YMCA where she is executive director assembled the baskets, which will be distributed to children in need in the Rensselaer area.

“I can’t say enough about the amazing community we live in,” Shannon says. “Rotarians, Greenbush Y members and our dedicated volunteers came together to provide this amazing gift to the children in Rensselaer. 

“Thank you to all who helped make these baskets special, and a huge shout-out to Roberto and Jim for their help in making the delivery.  Our community continues to deliver when it comes to helping those in need.”

Thanks to all who participated by donating baskets, basket contents, and money to purchase some necessary items. We have been partnering with Circles of Mercy for about seven years on this particular effort and have created and donated approximately 800 baskets.

Deadline near for aiding Easter basket push

This Friday is the final day for dropping off checks or items purchased from the shopping list for our annual Easter basket project.

The drop-off site is the Greenbush YMCA, 20 Community Way, adjacent to the East Greenbush Public Library, during regular hours.


• Baskets
• Toothbrushes (ages 1-12)
• Toothpaste
• Dental floss
• Hairbrushes
• Combs
• Hair ties, bows or barrettes (ages 1-12)
• Socks
• Children’s books (ages 1-12)
• Coloring books
• Crayons / markers
• Small games (ages 1-12)
• Small toys (toy cars, dolls, blocks, airplanes)
• Bubbles
• Small stuffed animals
• Assorted traditional candy (must be individually wrapped)

Easter basket timeline, shopping list

This year, we are looking to collect items to fill up to 175 Easter baskets as part of our effort to assist Circles of Mercy, the family assistance organization. Our project coordinator, Shannon Romanowski, also is recruiting the assistance of the Greenbush YMCA and Columbia High School to once again make our effort a successful one for underprivileged kids.

Shannon will be setting up an “Amazon Wish List” and a “Target Registry” for people who are not comfortable shopping in-person and prefer to order online. Items can be designated for delivery directly to the Greenbush YMCA, 20 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY 12061. Links for those items will be made known soon.

Meanwhile, here are the key elements of the initiative:


Monday, February 1: Donated items will begin being accepted at the Greenbush Y during normal operating hours — 5:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:15 to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Friday, March 19: Final day to drop off donations at the Greenbush Y.

Friday, March 26: Basket assembly at the Y, 2 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, March 27: Basket assembly at the Y, 9 to 11 a.m.


• Baskets (Jennifer Felts already has donated 16 baskets, so we need another 159)
• Toothbrushes (ages 1-12)
• Toothpaste
• Dental floss
• Hairbrushes
• Combs
• Hair ties, bows or barrettes (ages 1-12)
• Socks
• Children’s books (ages 1-12)
• Coloring books
• Crayons / markers
• Small games (ages 1-12)
• Small toys (toy cars, dolls, blocks, airplanes)
• Bubbles
• Small stuffed animals
• Assorted traditional candy (must be individually wrapped)

Time to shop for Easter basket items

Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 2.04.59 PMIt’s that time of year again, when SRC and others join with Circles of Mercy for its “Easter Baskets for Cate’s Kids” drive on behalf of needy children ages 1 to 12. Last year, SRC pledged 75 baskets but came up with 106!

Circles of Mercy is an outreach center for poor and low-income families which is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community. SRC has partnered with the organization for years on a number of effort, including holiday family “adoptions.”

“Last year, over 150 requests for Easter baskets was met, but given the current economic times, no doubt Circles of Mercy will have not only the same number of children, but possibly more,” says Circles’ director Richard Zazycki.

Easter this year will fall on Sunday, April 19, and we have agreed to meet an April 1 deadline by which to deliver gift baskets to Circles in time to get them distributed to the client families the week before the Easter holiday.

President Phil Kellerman will be contacting some of you about possibly coordinating the club’s portion of the effort and staying in contact with club member Shannon Romanowski at the Greenbush YMCA which is undertaking a companion effort.

Meanwhile, our practice has been to have the club purchase baskets, artificial grass, and transparent wrappings, and ask members to purchase items for the baskets from the shopping list below, getting them to our event coordinator as they are purchased.

Since we’re on a tight turnaround, you may want to begin shopping now. Here’s what is needed:


• coloring books
• crayons
• color pencils
• facial tissues
• toothpaste, tooth brushes, and dental floss
• combs and brushes
• small, age-appropriate (1 to 12) stuffed animals, toys, small games
• reading books
… and, of course, different types of traditional candy


Here’s the wish list for our Adopt-a-Family drive

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 6.00.46 PMAs we head into the holiday season, we plan to mix some giving into the equation as once again we help people less fortunate than we. It’s our annual participation in Circles of Mercy’s Adopt-a-Family holiday project.

This year we have one family, consisting of a mom and dad (ages 45 and 44), a teen daughter (17), a young son (4), and a baby girl on the way. Their “wish list” is modest, mostly clothing and personal items, but with a small smattering of other practical items.

The deadline for delivering donated gifts to Circles of Mercy is Monday, December 16, so we’re on a tight schedule.

Debbie Rodriguez is serving as project coordinator this year. We need your involvement, but we would appreciate it if you would contact Debbie BEFORE you do any shopping to let her know what you would like to provide. That coordination will help us be sure we cover the list without duplications or omissions. (Of course, duplicating clothing items never is a bad thing, but we need the communication nevertheless).

Here is the wish list. Please remember, all gifts (1) need to be gift wrapped, (2) must be labeled with the recipient’s names, (3) and need to be delivered to Debbie in time for her to coordinate her dropoff at Circles of Mercy by the deadline.

Thank you in advance for your generosity in the true spirit of Rotary and of the season.

Hazzard Family Wish List

Finish line near for school supplies drive

Screen Shot 2019-07-12 at 12.04.19 PMSRC members, family, and friends are once again helping less-fortunate students prepare for their return to school — yes, it’s getting that close! — by participating in the annual Circles of Mercy Back-to-School Supplies Drive.

The program, as in other years, focuses on all high school grades (9-12) and on pre-school students, and SRC is always a major contributor. The shopping list recommended by Circles of Mercy:

• pencils (regular lead #2 and color)
• pencil sharpener
• erasers (for pencils)
• pens (black or blue ink)
• markers (dry-erase and Sharpies, assorted colors)
• pocket folders (assorted colors)
• 3-ring binders (in 2” and 3” sizes)
• loose leaf paper (college ruled)
• graph paper
• spiral subject notebooks (1-, 3- and 5-subject, college ruled)
• subject dividers
• plastic zipper pencil cases/boxes
• 3”x5” index cards
• highlighters (yellow)
• rulers (regular with metric)
• Kleenex tissues
• hand sanitizer (small bottles)
• Post-It notes
• backpacks (no rollers/wheels)
• hole reinforcement stickers
• combination lock (for gym lockers)
• flash drives
• ear buds (for computer use)
• scientific calculators

We have one final drop-off date for your donations: 6 p.m. Thursday, August 8, at the Drumm residence in Valatie.

If you do NOT plan to attend that get-together, please contact President Phil Kellerman to arrange a dropoff/pickup for your donations so we can meet the necessary delivery schedule. We are hoping to at least meet the level of help we have provided in past years, but we can do it only with your generosity.

SRC Santa stops early this year at Circles of Mercy

Circle 4
One view of the Subaru “sleigh” full of presents.

This year’s special delivery of SRC donations for the Adopt-a-Family program was made Friday to Circles of Mercy in Rensselaer.

Coordinators Bill and April Dowd packed up a Subaru sleigh full — and we do mean full — of the individual presents for the Seymour family and the dozens of personal hygiene kits various members created at the request of Circles for distribution during the holiday period.

Bill noted that even though only about a third of our membership participated in the drive to make Christmas better for those less fortunate, their generosity and that of several non-Rotarians helped us exceed both the family’s wish list and the hygiene kit total pledged to Circles of Mercy.

Circle 2

Circle 1

Circle 3


Thursday deadline for hygiene kit donations

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 12.57.57 AMThe deadline is this Thursday to contribute “personal hygiene kits” to the annual Circle of Mercy family efforts we at the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club augment in many ways.

It’s a simple matter to be involved in this one. All you have to do is shop for items on the list below that we’ve circulated to you numerous times, put them in one-gallon Ziploc plastic bags, and drop them off at this Thursday’s meeting or with another Rotarian you are positive will attend that meeting, the deadline for helping.


Each kit should contain all the items below and be small enough to fit into a backpack pocket with ease. Odorless products are best due to allergies. Items to be placed in Glad-brand Zip Lock heavy duty bags (the one gallon size). All should be travel-sized containers:

hair conditioner
dental floss
breath strips
small first-aid kit (i.e. assorted Band-Aids and antiseptic such as Neosporin)
very small travel-size sewing kit (minimum thread and needle)
soap or body wash
hand sanitizer
lip balm (such as Chapstick)
combs, brushes and hair bands

Thanks so much for your participation. You’ll see this is an especially easy way for those of you who seldom attend dinner meetings or participate in service projects to get involved at minimum cost and effort.

Thanks to all you do.

Bill Dowd
Project Coordinator