Posted by Jim Taylor on May 16, 2018

Blood Donor Clinic earns kudos

The Blood Donor Clinic May 9th was a huge success. Thanks at least in part to Rotary’s promotion efforts, 86 potential donors attended, which is higher than many of the major clinics in the Lower Mainland; 68 of those actually gave blood, giving the Canadian Blood 86% of their goal for the day.
Gayle Voyer, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services, wrote, “I used the Lake Country’s support of our clinic as an example to the Daybreak West Kelowna Group in hope that they too will join us and adopt a clinic in their area.”
Gayle was so impressed that she has now scheduled two more clinics for Lake Country: Wednesday, September 26th and Wednesday, December 19th .
Rotary provided eight volunteers for the May 9 Clinic, plus one spouse and three friends – total of 12 volunteers.

Coffee and chocolate

For Thursday May 3, the club’s guest and speaker was George Willoner of Okanagan Centre. George and his wife Karen are typical of many small business run out of homes in Lake Country. Their specialty is Fair Trade coffee and chocolate.
It’s a non-profit business. They got into it when their church, St. Edwards Roman Catholic parish, was looking for someone to coordinate sales of Fair Trade coffee on behalf of the international organization, Development and Peace.
Much of George’s talk was about the concept of Fair Trade products. Overseas workers – missionaries and NGOs – realized that local farmers were the bottom of the food pile. The farmers provided the raw materials that international corporations needed, but they got next to nothing for their efforts.
Fair Trade attempts to right that imbalance. By cutting out a lot of the marketing machine, they pay farmers about ten times what they used to get. Beyond that, Fair Trade guarantees their famers a minimum price, regardless of fluctuations in international pricing.
George offered Nicaragua as an example. When that country was still reeling from the effects of the war between American-backed Contras and the Sandinistas, a lone American went to the country to sign up some farmers for Fair Trade. Understandably, most of the coffee growers were reluctant to expose themselves to any more risks, especially coming from an American. But ten farmers took the chance. And that year, instead of getting around ten cents a pound for their coffee, they got a dollar.
Next year, far fewers farmers were reluctant to sign on.
At the same time, the farmers make a commitment to be fair to their own workers. They accept certain requirements to pay their own workers fairly, and to provide support for education and medical needs.
So everyone benefits.
George and Karen Willoner live up to the Fair Trade ideals themselves – they turn over all their profits to Development and Peace, to use for justice and development work around the world.
You can order coffee (from a number of different countries) or chocolate (of varying kinds of darkness) by phoning the Willoners 250-766-5134 evenings or weekends.
Coming events
  • This Thursday, May 17, the speaker will be Lorraine Richmond of Habitat for Humanity. Habitat is currently planning to build a housing complex this year, on Powley Court, near the Tri-Lake Animal Hospital.
  • Saturday, May 26th the Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a Volunteer Day called Get Involved Lake Country - A Celebration of Volunteers and Community Spirit! at Lake Country Community Complex on Bottom Wood Lake Road. Rotary has booked a table at that event, and will need volunteers to staff it.
  • June 14, the speaker will be Chris Gardner, president of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (and advocate for construction and responsible resource development).
  • June 21 will be the induction meeting for our new Rotary Executive, at Arrow Leaf Winery. This will be an evening meeting.
  • June 28 will be a Club Assembly to talk about Canada Day details.