SRC again part of Adopt-a-Family holiday project

SRC’s annual participation in the “Adopt-a-Family” Christmas effort by Circles of Mercy will go on despite the current pandemic restrictions.

We have informed Richard Zazycki, Circles’ executive director, that we will take a family — maybe two if needed — under our collective wing. Bill Dowd has once more volunteered to coordinate the Club’s effort.

“Please know how sincerely grateful we are for the Club’s ongoing commitment and support,” Zazycki said. “We are beginning next week our ‘Adopt-a-Family’ program.  We have an intern from Hudson Valley Community College, Austin Cramer, who will be the program coordinator as part of his internship experience here at Circles of Mercy.  He will be supported during the process by our dedicated staff and volunteers.”

As soon as we receive the name and makeup of our family, along with their wish lists broken into “NEEDED” and “NICE TO HAVE” categories, we will share that shopping list with all members along with details of our collection process. The deadline for Bill to drop off our donations to Circles is Monday, December 14.

For those unfamiliar with the process Zazycki and his staff use to select needy families, here is how it works.

“One of the services that Circles of Mercy attempts to provide to client families is a Christmas holiday service formally known as “Cate’s Adopt-a-Family” program. It is a supplemental program in which we attempt to match low-income client families and individuals in need with ‘adopter/donors’ who can shop and help provide the family or individual with gifts or gift cards for the Christmas holiday,” Zazycki says.

“Our program is limited to 50 families, with preference given to client families who were in the program last year. Clients enrolled in the program should not participate in another agency’s Christmas holiday program (if asked, all client information will be shared with other agencies).

“In order for any client family or individual to be eligible to take part in the program, you must contact the office to register and provide us with the following documentation and information:

• Provide Documentation – Proof of:
 SNAP benefit statement (current) from County Social Services (this proof meets all requirements)
 Rensselaer city address/residency (piece of mail post-marked not older than 30 days, i.e. utility bill)
 Proof of parent’s identity (driver’s license, social security and DSS benefit statement)
 Proof of child/children identity (birth certificate, social security and DSS benefit card)
 Household income is at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines (generally income under $20,000). You must provide proof of income (last year’s tax returns, Social Security Administration, SSA, SSI, SSD and/or payroll stubs, etc.).
 You must prove participation in one of the following government programs: Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) / Section 8, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program.

No-cost way to do good for Gift of Life

As we change seasons, most of us sort through our clothing closets and drawers to see what we can do without. So, if you find unwanted clothes you’d like to get rid of, may we suggest one of the Gift of Life dropoff boxes?

The one closest to our area of service is behind the Mobil station just off Exit 10 of I-90 — near the Top Form facility.

GOL, the childhood medical relief organization, has many locations throughout District 7190 for its clothing donation bins. There are several in the immediate Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club area, but for those of you who live or work elsewhere — or want to encourage friends, relatives, and co-workers to drop off their unwanted items to help GOL, there are plenty of other options as well.

These bins are placed in conjunction with American Clothing Recycling Company, a Glens Falls business, with profits going to Gift of Life.

Here are the most convenient clothing bin locations (the list may change from time to time):

In the immediate SRC area:

  • As noted above, behind the Mobil station on Miller Road, Schodack
  • Tractor Supply Store, Schodack Plaza, 1649 Columbia Turnpike, Castleton

Elsewhere in the region:

  • Hewitt’s, Clifton Park
  • Powers Irish Pub, Clifton Park
  • Kelley Farm & Garden, Cobleskill
  • Rustic Gourmet Restaurant, 785 Delaware Ave, Delmar
  • SE Kitchens & Baths, Gansevoort
  • Hewitts, 605 Feura bush Road, Glenmont
  • Faddegon’s Nursery, Latham
  • Grassland Equipment & Irrigation Corp., Latham
  • Mechanicville Area Community Services Center, Mechanicville
  • Watervliet Elementary School, Watervliet
  • State Line Flea Market, Whitehall

Meeting Clipboard: 10/8/20

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

Members Attending (12): Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Charlie Foote, Murray Forth, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Phil Kellerman, Andy Leyhane, Ray Hannan.

Guests: None.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed members virtually. … Treasurer Murray Forth said Carol Orvis has donated $1,200 to the club treasury. She had been awarded that amount in lieu of winning the Cafe Capriccio wine dinner raffle; the raffle went on as planned, but the COVID-19 shutdown of the restaurant killed the dinner. … Dick said he wants to hold a Board discussion at the end of the month to evaluate what service projects we can carry out with whatever money we have raised from summer events, personal pledges, and other sources so far in the 2020-21 Rotary Year. …

Dean and Doris reported that the recent Gift of Life Golf Tournament netted about $14,000 for the pediatric medical philanthropic organization. Unfortunately, the Albany club’s annual Christmas dinner that usually raised about $5,000 for GOL has been cancelled for this year. … Jim and Roberto reported they have sold 75 of their initial supply of 100 bars of specialty soaps as a fundraising effort. A second batch of 100 has been ordered. The handmade scented soaps sell for $7 each or three for $20. They underwrote the $3-per-bar purchase, meaning that 100% of the sale price of each bar goes directly to the club. Details on the soaps are available on the website.

Our next ZOOM meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, October 15. Members will be sent a link to the session.

You can catch up on virtual fundraising

District 7190 last week hosted a ZOOM workshop on virtual fundraising. We had a strong presence of SRC members participating, but we assume others will find the proposal of interest.

Our initial group reaction, as shown in our online discussion at last Thursday’s meeting, was (a) SRC may not be eligible for the program until our pending request to the Internal Revenue Service for a tax-exempt status is approved, and (b) we need additional information on specific virtual fundraising possibilities beyond soliciting our own members. (Eventgroove, the company handling the program for 7190, says it will provide more, specific workshops as needed.)

Meanwhile, just click here to view the original ZOOM workshop. Here is the pass code: g$^w%5cr

Some ZOOM etiquette for Thursday


We will meet at 7 p.m. this Thursday via ZOOM video conference. The meeting is scheduled to last about 30 minutes. Please use this link to gain access to the meeting:

Several etiquette items to remember to avoid confusion and give everyone a chance to be heard:

• When the meeting is called to order by President Dick Drumm, or other presiding officer, please mute your audio.

• If you wish to make a comment, ask a question, etc., please raise your hand to gain Dick’s attention and, when called upon, then unmute your audio. When you are finished, re-mute.

• Please try to participate from a location without a lot of background noise (TV volume, barking dogs, clamoring kids, random gunfire, snoring, etc.). ZOOM has very good sound pickup and extraneous noise can be heard by everyone.

We’ve continually been getting better at ZOOM sessions as we get more experienced, so we’re hoping for even more participation. While our account limits us to a maximum of 40 minutes of meeting time, the participant limitation is well beyond the number of members we have, so there’s plenty of room for all.

Hope to “see” you, literally, on Thursday.

Meeting Clipboard: 10/1/20

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (9, no quorum): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Phil Kellerman, Charlie Foote, Kevin Leyhane, Pat Bailey.

GUESTS (1): Tony Morris.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed the attendees and guest. He asked if anyone in the club had participated in the initial virtual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) session last Saturday. No one had. … Debbie Rodriguez reported that the Danes Rotaract is hoping to host a viewing of the World Polio Day streaming event on Saturday, October 24. She will provide details as they become available. …

A brief discussion was had among members who participated in the ZOOM workshop on virtual fundraising hosted by District 7190 earlier this evening. (Bill Dowd, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Charlie Foote, and Murray Forth attended the workshop on behalf of SRC). It appears SRC may not be eligible to participate in the program because the club’s IRS status has not yet been resolved by the IRS. Phil Kellerman, who headed the team submitting our application for reinstatement of tax-exempt status, said he would contact the IRS to ascertain the progress, if any, of that request submitted several months ago. …

Jim and Roberto have kicked off a sale of custom-made soaps ($7 per bar, three for $20) as a club fundraiser. The soaps, which comes in seven different scents, are made by a nurse at Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital in Syracuse. Since she sells them to us for $3 a bar, the profit margin could be very healthy for the club. Jim and Roberto, who underwrote the initial purchase, will provide marketing materials and details in the near future, although several members immediately put in orders. … Guest Tony Morris, who owns a CBD retail business in Columbia Plaza, introduced himself as someone interested in Rotary. He had attended a dinner meeting in March just before the pandemic shutdown, and reconnected with us recently. …

Kevin Leyhane offered a brief report on the hybrid teaching now going on in the East Greenbush schools. He said as of today three high school students and one elementary student have tested positive for COVID-19. …

This was our first ZOOM meeting using the club’s new, free organizational account. It is limited to 40 minutes and 100 participants. Our virtual meetings have been running just shy of 40 minutes, so we will continue to see if that level of membership meets our needs or whether we need to move up to the $20-a-month level that greatly expands the time. … Our next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, October 8.

You’re invited to a ZOOM doubleheader

Several weeks ago, 7190 Governor Richard Griesche announced at one of our meetings the development of Eventgroove, a virtual fundraising program the District was putting together.

Details now are ready to be shared for the virtual, free program.

The District’s Eventgroove training team will hold a ZOOM meeting for all interested parties at 6 p.m. this coming Thursday. That works well for SRC, since our club ZOOM meeting that same evening is scheduled for 7 p.m.

• To access the Eventgroove meeting, use this online link:
Meeting ID: 839 9913 0368
Passcode: 619343

• To access the SRC club meeting, use this online link:
Meeting ID: 710 9475 3379
Passcode: 4CMfUg

You can get an advance idea of what Eventgroove covers by clicking here.

Meeting Clipboard: 9/24/20

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (15, quorum achieved): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Jim Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Roberto Martinez, Phil Kellerman, Charlie Foote, Ray Hannan, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Murray Forth, Kevin Leyhane.


MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed the usual suspects. He reminded members that the virtual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) session is this Saturday, and today is the deadline to register online. Bill Dowd told attendees he had posted on the website information just received from the District clarifying the RLI process which we now are told will be spread out over the year rather than being contained in one session. Full new details are available by clicking here. …

Dean and Doris Calamaras reported that Monday’s annual Gift of Life Golf Tournament at Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland drew a sellout crowd of 120 golfers and netted about $15,000 for GOL. Our club had two foursomes, one sponsored by Dean and Doris and one by Jim Leyhane, as well as individual item sponsors. …

Debbie Rodriguez said a member of the Niskayuna club would like to visit us via ZOOM to present information on a global grant that club is seeking for a women’s hygiene and education effort in several African nations. It is known as The Mooncatcher Project. She will arrange for the visit sometime in the next month. … World Polio Day is scheduled for Saturday, October 24. We are looking into whether there are events marking the day that we can participate in or view as we do most years. …

Treasurer Murray Forth reported that we have received about $3,000 in member donations so far as part of our new fundraising process to help underwrite our community and global projects. Bill Dowd will craft a followup letter to send out to all members within the next week, reiterating the details of the new process. … Murray also reported that he has retrieved the donation jug as well as a collection of CLYNK bags and barcode stickers from Quigley’s. …

Jim Leyhane said the East Greenbush Police Department is raising funds to purchase and train a K-9 police dog. He said such an effort usually costs in the $20,000 range and about half that amount has been raised. While SRC has not yet been approached about contributing, he asked that we give some consideration to a $1,000 donation. Dick said the topic will be discussed at the next Board of Directors meeting. … Our next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. next Thursday, October 1, again via ZOOM.