SACO — This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club. As they learn to navigate through this crisis, meeting regularly to discuss ways to continue their spirit of giving, changed. Like many businesses and organizations, since the state shutdown, the club continues to connect weekly using the Zoom meetings platform. Club President Fausto Pifferrer stated, “Meeting every week keeps our Rotarians engaged and informed. It is important for us to continue the foundation our forefathers established and reach out during to our communities in this time of crisis”.

The club reallocated funds and organized a COVID-19 subcommittee with a mission to provide financial help to those organizations who characteristically are first line providers. Conrad Welzel, chair of the COVID-19 committee, announced $500 was allocated to Apex Youth Connection in Biddeford. The group has been distributing free Healthy and Active Care Packages to area families every Friday for the past four weeks. Items such as food, personal care products like soap and toothbrushes/toothpaste, a physical activity to help keep kids moving, and an at-home service project. “All year long, Apex Youth Connection is getting area youth ‘out there,’ connecting with their community, the outdoors, and their futures,” said Melissa Cilley, executive director of Apex. “We are still connecting remotely with our youth, but it became clear very quickly that area families needed more support — especially around weekend food needs and personal care items. We are so grateful to the Biddeford-Saco Rotary, Biddeford Walmart, and other area businesses and organizations who have helped make that support possible.” The packages will continue at least through the month of May every Friday from 3 to 4 p.m. at Apex’s satellite location at 46 Sullivan St. in Biddeford.

“Unquestionably, providing $500 to the Biddeford food pantry and the Saco food pantry was important,” Welzel said. “They already serve our communities and the closure of some of the smaller pantries due to the pandemic, they have both seen increased traffic at their respective facilities.”

They also approved purchasing ten $50 in grocery gift cards to help local families living in Old Orchard Beach.

An additional $1,000 in funding was approved for Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center in Biddeford. “They support everyone who passed through their doors. They know the immediate needs of our citizens and are able to stretch every dollar donated to their organization,” Welzel said.

The club meets every Wednesday from noon to 12:45 p.m. via Zoom. For more information on becoming a Rotarian, visit Biddeford-sacorotary.org.

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