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Geneva Rotary Club donates over $24,000 to local agencies & organizations

The Geneva Rotary Club recently presented a check for $10,000 to the Geneva City School District for its Backpack Program and also approved grants totaling $14,050 to 15 Geneva agencies and organizations.he Geneva Rotary Club recently presented a check for $10,000 to the Geneva City School District for its Backpack Program and also approved grants totaling $14,050 to 15 Geneva agencies and organizations.

The Rotary Club raised the money this year through various projects, including the Service Above Self Dinner and the Rotary Santa Train Express.

Many children receive free and reduced-price lunches during the week at school, so the school district started the Weekend Backpack Program in 2008 to help children get the food they need on weekends.

The current Backpack Program works as follows: Every other weekend, bags of food are assembled and distributed to 160 children. The food items, which can’t be perishable, include peanut butter, jelly, canned fruit and vegetables, apple chips and Rice Krispie treats, among other things.

When the Rotary club learned that the Backpack Program funding was in jeopardy, the club contributed $1,500 to keep the program going in the 2015-2016 school year. Last year, the club gave $12,000 for the 2016-2017 school year. President Dick Austin said the club expects to contribute more soon for the Backpack Program.

The Geneva Rotary Club recently presented a check for $10,000 to the Geneva City School District for its Backpack Program to feed children on weekends. From left to right are Susan McGowan, school social worker, Jennifer Anderson, teacher aide, Tammi Richmond, family services facilitator, Nikki Kersbergen, grants coordinator, Gerry Barker, Food Service Director, Rotary President Dick Austin, President-Elect Tara Rago, Vice President Shad Cook and school district Superintendent Trina Newton.
The Geneva Rotary Club recently presented a check for $10,000 to the Geneva City School District for its Backpack Program to feed children on weekends. From left to right are Susan McGowan, school social worker, Jennifer Anderson, teacher aide, Tammi Richmond, family services facilitator, Nikki Kersbergen, grants coordinator, Gerry Barker, Food Service Director, Rotary President Dick Austin, President-Elect Tara Rago, Vice President Shad Cook and school district Superintendent Trina Newton.

The local service club also awards grants annually. The following received grants last week:

Child & Family Resources, $1,000, safety seat and crib program
Community Lunch Program, $1,000, utilities
Jim Dooley Center for Early Learning, $1,000, outdoor play gym
Geneva Concerts $1,000, concert outreach
Geneva Historical Society, $150, Rose Hill events
Geneva Lakefront Childcare, $1,000, infant and waddler program
Geneva Light Opera, $1,000, opera outreach
Geneva Music Festival, $1,000, concert outreach
Geneva Public Library, $900, collaborative movie series
Geneva Reads, $1,000, books for newborns
Geneva Theatre Guild, $1,000, Youth Theater performances
Literacy Volunteers, $1,000, adult literacy programs
St. Peters Arts Academy, $1,000, student financial aid
SUCCESS for Geneva’s Children, $1,000, survey of parents
Thrive to Survive, $1,000, service to cancer patients

Austin explained that the Rotary grant program favors Geneva organizations that help large numbers of children.

“We are happy to give away all of the money that we raise through the year,” said Austin. “That’s the main reason we’re all in Rotary.”

Another Rotary program that helps many Geneva young people is the Rotary No-interest Student Loan Program, which the club has offered since 1920. This year the club issued $49,500 in interest-free student loans to assist 33 Geneva students in college or college bound. Self-funding of this program comes from loan repayment and an endowment, and is not supported by fundraising efforts of the club. Also, two Service Above Self awards of $1,000 each were presented to two graduating Geneva High School seniors.

Rotary International is composed of 1.2 million men and women around the world who donate their expertise, time and funds to support local and international projects that help people in need and promote understanding amongst cultures.  If you are interested in serving your community in a new way and are interested in becoming a Geneva Rotarian, please contact secretary@genevarotaryclub.org for more information or visit us on our website at www.genevarotaryclub.org. Geneva Rotary meets every Wednesday at noon at Geneva Country Club.

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