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 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.

YMCA’s ‘Basket Brigade’ Thanksgiving drive opens

The Greenbush YMCA is seeking monetary donations to help underwrite its annual “Community Basket Brigade,” now under way.

“We would be grateful for any contributions to help fill our Thanksgiving baskets this year,” said SRC member Shannon Romanowski, director of the Y, adding, “We certainly could use the food donations. Donations can be dropped off at the Greenbush YMCA any time during our operating hours: 5:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5:45 am/ to 7 p.m. Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.”

Here is the flyer containing details of the drive. Note that the deadline is this coming Monday, November 15:

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)

Thank you all, and a Merry Christmas


Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 6.00.46 PMGifts for the Hazzard family have been delivered to Circles of Mercy in Rensselaer as our club’s participation in the annual Adopt-a-Family drive.

Our thanks to Debbie Rodriguez and Bill Dowd for organizing the drive, and for Debbie in particular volunteering to get involved in the task of collecting and delivering gifts to the family of four — and soon to be five.

This is the fifth consecutive year we have partnered with Circles of Mercy in this effort. Circles is a staunch supporter of families in need, and we welcome the opportunity to work with the organization in various undertakings. Their organizational skills and far-reaching network makes SRC’s efforts  always on point.


Today’s ‘Adopt-a-Family’ project update


Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 7.58.25 PMHere is where we stand as of 8 p.m. today (Tuesday) in our annual project to make Christmas for one local family a happy one.

We’re off to a solid start for our annual “Adopt-a-Family” holiday effort in partnership with Circles of Mercy. However, we’re on a short turnaround time and still need help to meet the December 16 drop-off deadline.

The chart above — which we are updating on a daily basis — shows the Hazzard family’s wish list, with items marked in yellow denoting what has been pledged so far. Please note that we’d like to first get all the “Need to have” items accounted for before we begin duplicating anything like clothes, etc.

If you’d like to help make the family’s Christmas morning brighter than it otherwise would be, just email project coordinator Debbie Rodriguez at (copy to Bill Dowd, please, at as soon as you can. She will gather all the donated gifts for delivery.

PLEASE REMEMBER, all gifts must be gift-wrapped and labeled with the recipient’s name.

Thank you for your generosity

P.S. If you’d like to contribute in another way, Circles of Mercy also is in need of personal hygiene kits to distribute to some of its clients. Here is what goes into such kits:

Screen Shot 2019-11-26 at 8.03.54 PM


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

Special needs require food pantry aid

screen shot 2019-01-24 at 10.19.06 pmFood pantries in the Capital Region supply a lot of demand year-round. However, special circumstances sometimes add to the pressure.

Right now, Code Blue weather emergencies and the temporary partial federal government shutdown reportedly are pushing more people than usual to seek assistance from the pantries. So, as SRC member Shannon Romanowski informs us, the local YMCA branches and the CP Com Federal Credit Union are making an effort to help, and are asking members of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club to assist in the effort.

Through Thursday, February 28, YMCA locations such as those in East Greenbush and Troy will serve as drop-off locations, as will all CAP COM branch locations. They will be accepting non-perishable food items and personal care items.

Items in high demand:

Canned tuna
Canned chicken
Kidney beans
Black beans
Peanut butter
Pancake mix

Obviously, any other non-perishable food and personal hygiene items (diapers, oral care, feminine hygiene products, powdered milk, uncooked pastas, canned fruits and sauces, etc., would be helpful.

Food and funds will be distributed to benefit the following locations in Rensselaer County and elsewhere:

• Hope 7 Community Center, Troy
• Joseph’s House, Troy
• Unity House, Troy
• Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, Albany
• Food Pantries for The Capital District, Albany


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