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!

God bless us, everyone!

Alastair Sim as Scrooge in ‘A Christmas Carol’

Well, that’s what Tiny Tim said at the conclusion of the classic 1951 film “A Christmas Carol.” But, Ebeneezer Scrooge had more memorable lines.

For example, this all-encompassing commentary that tells us all it’s never too late to become a better person:

“I don’t know anything. I never did know anything. But now I KNOW that I don’t know anything. I never did know anything. But now I know that I don’t know. All on a Christmas morning.”

And, as we all continue to evolve and gain wisdom, a very Merry Christmas to all of us.

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!


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 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 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.