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.

Happy birthday to us!

Sixty-one years ago on this date, the foundation for what now is the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club was laid when the newly-chartered East Greenbush club met for the first time.

The name was changed in the 1990s to reflect the expansion of its area of membership and service, and the organization continues to this day to be one of the premier community service entities in the Capital Region.

So, if you’re baking or grocery shopping today, why not include a cake in your plans, and light a bunch of candles in honor of SRC?

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)

Holiday off, but we’re Zoom-ing back next Thursday

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Welcome to the 2020-21 Rotary Year, and Happy Fourth of July week.

Following tradition, there will be no meeting this week because of the holiday, but we will hold a meeting via Zoom videoconferencing from 6 to 7 p.m. next Thursday, July 9.

It will be the first meeting presided over by new club President Dick Drumm. Here’s his agenda outline, with details to be emailed to members before then:

1. Summer events
2. Year-long schedule of programs, speakers, fundraisers, and projects
3. Alternate plans for a meeting site if Quigley’s does not reopen
4. Best way to regularly schedule Zoom meetings to optimize attendance
5. Open for Rotarians to freely express ideas on what they would like if not already included on this agenda

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


Happy New Year 2020

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Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve, and we’ll see you on Thursday, January 9, when we resume our weekly dinner meetings. As always, you can check on club and district events listed on our website’s Calendar page by clicking here.

A reminder: Although we’re entering a new year, we’re only halfway through the 2019-20 Rotary Year. So, if you pay your dues semi-annually rather than at the start of the Rotary Year, your second payment is now due.

Our last Holiday Party, until the next one

Once again we officially welcomed in the holidays with our annual “Holiday Party & Basket Silent Auction.” And, once again, we were hosted by Maggie and Murray Forth, to whom we owe a hearty ho-ho-ho and thank you!

Besides the good food and fellowship we all enjoyed, the basket auction raised $500 for the club  treasury to help support our many community service endeavors.

We won’t be gathering again until our Thursday, January 9, 2020 dinner meeting at Quigley’s. Until then, here are some party images to look over.

Party Maggie

Party Murray Phil

Party Maggie Flowers

Party Me

Party Becky

Party KL and Lois

Party Carol

Party Drumms RM

Party Pat

Party sweater

Party Roberto


Party Mike

Party Leyhanes

Party Kirea

Party Kevin

Party Jim

Party Geoff

Party Jeremy