Brenda Pollack is the new president of the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club. From left are: Emily Thayer, Maddison Thayer, Hunter Thayer, Brenda Pollock and David Pollock. Courtesy photo

BIDDEFORD — Brenda Pollock became president of the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club on June 29. She is the fifth female president of the 102-year-old club. Helene Plourde was the organization’s first woman to lead it. Julie Villemaire was the second woman to accept the role in 2010, followed by Karen Chasse in 2012, and Lucie Kay in 2016.

Pollock’s first club meeting was held on June 13 where she presented her goals as president of the organization. Her grandson, 7-year-old Hunter Thayer, helped her lead the Pledge of Allegiance at her inaugural meeting. “My family is my inspiration,” said Pollock. “And seeing me lead this amazing group of professionals, committed to make our world a better place, will inspire them to help in our communities where we can.”

The Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club has made substantial contributions to the Biddeford – Saco area, including establishing the 72-acre Rotary Park on Main Street in Biddeford that offers citizens walking trails, two playgrounds, a lighted softball field, youth football field, a teen center, dog park, skate park, a boat launch, sliding hills, picnic grove with tables and grills, swimmers beach with seasonal lifeguards, sand volleyball court and a 9-hole disc golf course.

Each year, the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club actively engages in ways to help its communities. The main focuses are helping children, seniors, and veterans. In 2020, the club organized a raised bed garden project and took addressing food impoverished assistance to the next level. Ken Farley, a past president of the club and a Rotarian since 1987, leads this committee each year.

Every Christmas, Biddeford-Saco Rotarians take on Christmas gift wish lists from more than 80 children and make them come true. Adopt-A-Family is a Rotary holiday project designed to assist families who are in crisis because of unemployment, homelessness, medical issues, or other difficult circumstances, and who otherwise wouldn’t have the resources to celebrate the holidays.

“Our Club brightens the Holidays for needy children,” said Heather Gendron, committee chair. “This committee organizes the list of families, manage the shopping, organize giftwrapping, and the delivery of presents. It’s a gratifying cause for Rotarians.”

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Pollock outlined a budget for the 2022-23 Rotary year, that will provide scholarships for seniors, summer camp sponsorships for local youth, an essay contest with prizes for the top finalists for eighth graders from Biddeford, Saco, and Old Orchard Beach schools; leadership camp grants for teens entering their sophomore year of high school; and more.

“Joe Moreshead is chair of the charitable giving committee,” Pollock said. “He and his team review applications from local citizens who sometimes, fall through the cracks for much needed assistance. That’s when Rotarians are able to step in and help.”

In addition to the many service projects these Rotarians will sponsor, one of their goals is to invite anyone who may be interested in becoming a Rotarian, to attend a meeting.

“It seems like everything is just a bit more difficult today,” Pollock said. “The fun, the fellowship, and the chance to do something for somebody else and to sense the self-fulfillment that comes in the process is deeply rewarding.”

For more information on the Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club, it’s committees, events, and meeting times, visit www.biddeford-sacorotary.org.