The Rotary Club of Brunswick features a weekly Speaker’s Forum as part of their Monday noon meetings. Speakers usually come from local businesses, non-profits and service organizations. In the past few months, speakers have included Lois Skillings, president and CEO of Mid Coast Health Services, Angela Rice, co-founder and vice-president of Midcoast Lyme Disease Support, and Patrick O’Brien, Director of Marketing for Fiore Artisan Olive Oil and Vinegars. The 20-minute presentation is followed by questions from the attendees.

Rotarians were treated to a talk from “down under” as John Lawrence from Brisbane, Australia spoke on October 1. With a wide background as a Past Director of Rotary International, and an active member of the Rotary Club of Brisbane, John spoke about a project called “Teacher in a Box.” This international project provides an extensive range of free educational material to areas of the world with no internet access. Through pre-loaded software, students and teachers learn with donated technology. Currently, Teacher in a Box is available in five developing countries and is accessed in remote villages who lack educational leaders.

John Lawrence was accompanied by his wife, Janet, who spoke about Shelter Boxes which are currently assisting the devastated families on the Sulawesi Island in Indonesia. “ShelterBox” was founded by a Rotarian but is now a non-profit which is supported by Rotarians. Rotarians have contributed $48 million dollars, which is forty-percent of “ShelterBox” revenue. Each “ShelterBox” contains a family-sized tent as well as supplies, including solar lights, water storage and purification equipment, thermal blankets and cooking utensils. For more information, go to: https://www.shelterbox.org

Community Service

Community Service is a large part of the work of Brunswick Rotarians. Rotarians continue to assist Midcoast Hunger Prevention Project at the monthly Harpswell Good Shepherd Food Bank project. Brunswick Rotarians are currently collecting funds to provide Tedford Shelter families with turkeys for Thanksgiving Day. Several Brunswick Rotarians take part in the weekly Reading Friends program at the Coffin Elementary School. Six Rotarians have formed a team and are taking part in the Virtual Race from Fort Kent to Kittery to benefit the Independence Association of Maine with the purchase of exercise equipment for their clients and staff.

On Oct. 15, a new historic recognition plaque will be dedicated at Senter Place on Maine Street in Brunswick. The Brunswick Pride and Heritage Committee, part of the Brunswick Rotary Club, has installed16 plaques throughout the Brunswick area. This is an ongoing project for the Brunswick Rotarians. Other ongoing local activities include yearly gifts of supply-filled pencil boxes for needy students, 4th of July Fun and Games on the Mall, and collaboration for the Family Safety Day and Bike Rodeo.

Fundraising

An important part of both Community and International service is fundraising. Although the hands-on service projects commit the time of Rotarians, many projects include funding. One example is the bike helmets purchased by the Brunswick Rotary Club for the Bike Rodeo. Funds are required for Rotary to access grants both local and international. Brunswick Rotary received funding for laptop computers for the Teen Center at People-Plus. This grant required a cash contribution by the club.

Whenever possible, fundraising is combined with “community good.” A prime example is the spring “Midcoast Maine’s Got Talent” evening of entertainment. Local merchants support this fundraiser by purchasing program ads and offering goods and services for a silent-auction. “Essence of Elegance,” a fashion show, wine-tasting, silent auction and special raffle drawing will be hosted by the Brunswick Rotary Club on November 15 at the Hilton Garden Inn Ballroom in Freeport from 6 to 9:00PM. In its second year, the fundraising committee found a larger venue for the event due to its popularity. Fashions are provided by “It’s All Good,” a Brunswick boutique consignment shop. Proceeds benefit the Brunswick Rotary Community Fund and Universal Promise, an organization that provides education for children in Addo, South Africa.

Go to: Youtube, up,up up, The Universal Promise Story.

Join Rotary!

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million men and women in over 35,000 clubs. We are fortunate to have three clubs in the Brunswick area. The oldest club, chartered in 1925, is the Rotary Club of Brunswick. Meetings take place at The Daniel at noon on every Monday except the last Monday of the month and on holidays. The Rotary Club of Brunswick Coastal, chartered in 1990, meets on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Fairground Cafe in Topsham. For those with time in the morning, the Rotary Club of Topsham Expresso, chartered in 2006, meets at 7:15 a.m. at Priority Group Business Center at 2 Main Street in Topsham. All three clubs have websites and Facebook pages and they are always looking for new members who are interested in service.

Claudia Frost is the president of the Rotary Club of Brunswick.

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