The Freeport Rotary Club is reaching out to provide hurricane relief funding to Southwest Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. A check for $2,500 has been sent to the Disaster Relief Fund in Rotary District 6960, based in Bonita Springs, Florida, to provide much needed assistance. Freeport Rotarian Michele Bois-Gilbody has connected with representatives of the Rotary district and states, “There are many moving parts to provide relief in this endeavor and within the month, Rotarians will begin working with Habitat [for Humanity] to rebuild homes that have been destroyed.”

On the international front, Freeport Rotary completed its final report after a year of support for the Kakamega Orphan Project Women’s Farming Initiative. Freeport Rotary received a Rotary District 7780 Grant Award for $3,074 along with other funds provided by Rotary International. Freeport Rotarian Todd Doolan served as a key liaison for this grant.

Kakamega is in western Kenya, just north of the equator in southern Africa. Its primary economic activities are farming and fishing. This project gives ten young Kenyan women an opportunity to become financially independent while also helping support their needy families. The young women are eager to farm because opportunities are limited for them while they are caring for their children and/or younger siblings.

Recently, workshops added to the project include help with nutrition and health during a weekend retreat on women’s issues. Additional money has also been allocated for doctor checkups for the young women and their children. Kenyan women have learned how to create sack gardens (for onions, kales, and other greens) suitable for people with limited garden space. They visit other young women who have built a successful farming business so that they can learn from each other.

Rotary clubs the world over work on six types of causes aimed at building international relationships, improving lives, and building a better world to support peace efforts and end polio forever:

•Promoting peace: Rotary encourages conversations to foster understanding within and across cultures. We train adults and young leaders to prevent and mediate conflict and help refugees who have fled dangerous areas.

• Fighting disease: Rotary educates and equips communities to stop the spread of life-threatening diseases like polio, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. It improves and expand access to low-cost and free health care in developing areas.

• Providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene: Rotary supports local solutions to bring clean water, sanitation, and hygiene to more people every day. We don’t just build wells and walk away. We share our expertise with community leaders and educators to make sure our projects succeed long-term.

• Saving mothers and children: Nearly six million children under the age of five die each year because of malnutrition, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation. We expand access to quality care, so mothers and their children can live and grow stronger.

• Saving mothers and children: More than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy.

• Growing local economies: We carry out service projects that enhance economic and community development and create opportunities for decent and productive work for young and old. We also strengthen local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women, in impoverished communities.

The Freeport Rotary Club, formed in 1983, is a diverse group of business and professional people from the Freeport, Durham, and Pownal area. Its mission is to provide service to those in need, locally and around the world. The club meets at 7 a.m. on Wednesdays at Freeport Community Services on Depot Street in Freeport. For more detailed information about the Freeport Rotary Club and its programs, visit

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