Weekend work party moves Food Bank closer to completion

 
Seventeen volunteers put in a full day’s work on Saturday November 21 to install wall covering on the interior walls of the new Food Bank building. Six of those were Rotarians; the rest came from the community – a sign of the growing community support for the project.
                Although construction manager Tom Roth would have preferred to have drywall on the walls, the decision had to be made to go with OSB (oriental strandboard) for financial reasons. “We can’t spend money we don’t have,” said Bob Rymarchuk.
                After four years that started with investigating existing buildings that could be renovated to suit the Food Bank’s needs, the new permanent home is nearing completion. Once flooring and shelving is finished, the Food Bank can begin to move its operations to the new site.
                But that won’t happen until January 2016. During the Christmas season, the 600 or so clients that the Food Bank serves every month can rise to around 1000. It’s too much to expect the 60 volunteers to serve that increased clientele while at the same time moving supplies out of the two small rooms in the basement of the former Winfield Elementary School into the new premises.
                Once the building is finished, a Grand Opening Handing-Over Ceremony will be planned, with the public invited.
 

The gift of eyesight

 
                Cathy Goheen is no stranger to the Lake Country Rotary Club. On her last visit, November 19, she promoted two projects with her characteristic enthusiasm.
                Cathy talked first about her personal project, providing eyeglasses for village people in Central America. Cathy collects used eyeglasses from optometric offices through the Okanagan. She laughs about taking two suitcases full of used eyeglasses through airline check-ins and border examinations.
                But she gets serious when she talks about the effect of those eyeglasses. In one location, she said, a young lout leaned skeptically against a post, watching scornfully as villagers lined up to receive glasses. Cathy invited him to take the vision test. His eyesight was minus-11 – so bad that in a classroom he could barely have seen a blackboard, let alone what the teacher might have written on it. He needed what we sometimes talk about as “Coke-bottle” lenses. Cathy found a pair that was close, only about a half diopter out. She put them on his face, and watch an amazed smile break out. For the first time, he could see the faces of people around him. He could see that people liked him. With vision, he could get a job, get an education, get a life.
                “He walked out like he had found a new world,” Cathy said.
                She welcomes all old glasses, any old glasses, including Grandpa’s sunglasses. For the recipients, anything is better than nothing at all.
                “This is the most selfish thing I have ever done in my life,” Cathy told the club. “I get some much back out of handing out eyesight to someone who needs it.”
 

The gift of education

 
                Cathy Goheen’s second reason for visiting us was to promote support for the Street Children of Tegucigulpa project. Unlike many of the projects Cathy visits as an auditor (sort of) for Rotary International where, she says, adequate accounting records are often omitted, the Tegucigulpa project has been going for 20 years without a hitch. Its founder, Don Kaminsky, is a British Columbia doctor who keeps very close tabs on what happens.
                Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras, is a dangerous place for children. Businesses think that having children hanging around drives away business. The police often shoot to kill. If the children hear a car backfire, they dive for cover. “It is not a safe place,” Cathy said.
                The project not only provides for, and rehabilitates, the street children, it works with their mothers who get the services of a nurse, a midwife, and medical care; their children get to go to school. Through microcredit programs, the mothers can become self-supporting. Many of the mothers can now afford to send their children to school, rather than depending on the Rotary program.
                Lake Country Rotary supports the Tegucigulpa Street Children’s Program with an annual donation through Rotary International.
 

Clubrunner improvements

 
                Lake Country Rotary uses the Clubrunner Internet program to keep attendance records and to communicate with members and with the Rotary District. Since Dave Colquhoun talked about updating personal profiles, most records have improved – but apparently there are still five members who don’t know how old they are!
                The Communications Committee (Monika Jatel, Judy Guido, and Jim Taylor) have undertaken to update and weed out the mailing lists generated by Clubrunner. Jim has sent a query to 30 persons on the “Other” list, to see if they want to continue to receive communications from the club, and will start soon on a list of 75 former members, most of whom have not been heard from in years.
                If you should happen to receive multiple requests about these communications, blame the duplications and overlaps in multiple lists – don’t get mad at Rotary for bugging you!