Related Pages

Rotary CARES

What is a Rotary Club to do with do with over 1.5 million dollars of donated personal care items and snacks? Distribute to those in need and to essential medical and emergency workers of course! 
Several years ago, OP Rotarian Mike Meyer became aware of available free children’s books. All he had to do was to figure out how to transport these materials from Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Ohio.  He immediately turned to the OP Rotary Club and Foundation and the idea blossomed into “Rotary Reads”, a major service project. All that needed to be done was to transport semi-truckloads of books to the Kansas City Metro Area, then to distribute to children in need. Fellow Rotarians Brad Vaughn and Will Gladhart helped to organize the distribution of 220,461+ books (monetary value of $3,574,257).  Non-profit agencies in the KC Metro area were invited to apply to receive books.  With the aid of the mayor and superintendent the Kansas City Public schools received 79,000 books.  This provided up to 3 books for each elementary and middle school student. OP Club members joined in the efforts to package books that were in pallet sized containers so they could be sorted and given to over 100+ charitable agencies and inner-city schools.
Fast forward to the pandemic, when people need basic supplies such as laundry soap, shampoos, soaps, etc. Once again Mike worked his magic and was able to get donated supplies. Partnering with the Johnson County Christmas Bureau and the OP Rotary Foundation, our Rotarians went to work.  This time they distributed 100+ truck loads and $2,000,000 worth of product to various agencies to distribute to people who were in need. Over 12,000 individuals in Johnson County alone benefited from this generous donation.
In addition to basic supplies there was some room left over on the trucks for protein bars, snacks, and other goodies. While everything was shut down, Mike and Brad operated like “two men and a truck”, delivering to “front line” medical workers at 7 major medical centers. This was at the height of the pandemic when care workers were exhausted, rarely getting a break to eat and/or rest, and dealing with the incredible stress of caring for COVID patients. Rotary CARES wanted them to know how much they were appreciated
This past couple of months our club has been able to resume in person meetings.  As we gathered, people were eager to get back to service.  Once again Mike and Brad organized a way for 25 of our members to participate in an OP ROTARY CARES event in honor of our local firefighters and paramedics.  Over two days Rotarians drove their vehicles to a warehouse in KC, MO and loaded them full of protein bars, snacks, and other goodies.  Each Rotarian was given the name and address of a single firehouse and got to deliver their car/truck loads (over 45 cases) directly to the firehouse. We delivered to 33 different firehouses as well as the regional training center.
Seeing the reactions of the firefighters and other personnel was priceless! Each one of the people on the receiving end was amazed at the generosity and thoughtfulness of Rotarians at work. For some firefighters it was their first encounter with Rotary and an opportunity to share our purpose.
Several firefighters commented “Really? Just for us? This isn’t for the whole fire department?” A fire chief at one of the 6 districts added “
Naturally the impact on us as Rotarians was also encouraging.  Getting back to hands on service renewed our sense of the importance of “Serve to Change Lives”.