We have just wrapped up the club’s annual Christmas giving tree project that provides gifts for children in need at La Casita. Club members’ generous gifts have supported children living in low-income neighborhoods in the east Salem area. This year the response from club members has been incredible. At least seventeen club members provided gifts for approximately 105 children this year, which is far beyond the number of gifts we have provided in the past few years, and is a reflection of the increased need in our community. A big thank you to Maureen Casey for coordinating this project on top of her very busy regular job! Many children will have Christmas gifts this year thanks to the generosity of our club members.
On December 4th we held our club’s annual day of bell ringing for the Salvation Army to collect funds for those in need in our local community. This project took place at the east Salem Fred Meyer store on Market Street. Thanks to the many club members who helped out that day, we raised $364.69, and our efforts support many people and programs in our area.
Lieutenant Laura Fyn of the Salvation Army sent our club a thank you and shared that they serve thousands of people in Marion and Polk Counties each year. In those two counties, they operate the Lighthouse Transitional Living Shelter, Family Services (Food, Rental, Utilities, Financial Assistance), and the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. They also are feeding approximately 200 meals per day to wildfire victims in Mill City, Lyons and Stayton through their Emergency Disaster Services. East Salem Rotarians are people of action, and we are committed to supporting our local community.
East Salem Rotarians have volunteered to adopt our eight installed Little Free Libraries to help take care of them and refill them with books on an ongoing basis. The libraries that have been adopted by club members are located at:
- St. Vincent de Paul Dual Immersion School
- East Salem Community Center
- DHS Self-Sufficiency Office
- New Harvest Church
- Swegle Branch of Boys & Girls Club
- The Seymour Family Resource & Child Development Center
- Northgate Park (2 libraries, one at the Hawthorne entrance and one at the Fairhaven entrance)
Many thanks to our club members who are giving their time to promote literacy in our east Salem community.
Two Little Free Libraries were recently installed at Northgate Park. They are located at the Hawthorne and Fairhaven entrances to the park. The principal of Hallman Elementary, who suggested placing the libraries at this park to support Hallman students, is advertising the libraries on the school’s Facebook page, so we expect those libraries to get a lot of use! We now have eight libraries installed in the east Salem area, and books are being replenished on an ongoing basis due to the libraries’ regular use.
As part of a district-wide grant from last Rotary year, our club, along with all other Salem-area clubs, provided some volunteer time at the Marion Polk Food Share. Thanks very much to the four East Salem Rotary club members who volunteered their time at the Food Share on Tuesday, November 10th: Maureen Casey, Rhonda Prodzinski, Keith Martin and Catherine Carlson. This group sorted and packed 1,359 pounds of frozen meat and fish that will feed over 1,133 people in our community!
Our club has now installed six Little Free Libraries in the east Salem area, including at the Swegle branch of the Boys & Girls Club. Check out this quote from the Swegle Branch director of the Boys & Girls Club: “…the kids LOVE the Little Library. I overhear them asking their parents if they can check a book out when they get picked up. It is the sweetest thing.” All of our libraries are getting lots of use and we are soliciting donations of new or gently used children’s books to help replenish the libraries as needed.
Four club members–Maureen Casey, Pat Mack, Rich Mackie and Catherine Carlson–participated in weeding the beautiful outdoor learning garden our club built in 2014 at the Swegle branch of the Boys & Girls Club. The garden has been in need of some TLC for a while, and we cleaned up at least half of the raised beds. We returned this week and used some non-toxic spray on the remaining weeds. Thanks to those who showed up on a misty morning to help out. Sue Bloom, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club, assisted us with the weeding as well.
Our club now has thirteen Little Free Libraries to distribute to our east Salem community. East Salem Rotary labels are being applied to the libraries and to the books stocked in the libraries. We have installed Little Libraries at the Seymour Family Resource & Child Development Center, the DHS Self Sufficiency Office, St. Vincent de Paul Dual Language Immersion School, New Harvest Church, the East Salem Community Resource Center, and the Swegle Boys & Girls Club. More installations are planned over time as we get approval to move forward at specific sites. We will need many more books, as the libraries are getting a lot of use from local children.
Our club has completed the building of ten Little Free Libraries, and three more have been donated for our east Salem community. Thank you to Ken Morin and Ted Mack, who have helped build most of these libraries. Ted Mack has purchased a plaque honoring longtime club member Phil Sperl, and it will be displayed on one of the libraries.
The first library was installed last week inside the Seymour Family Resource & Child Development Center. This week has been a busy one for library installation. Ken Morin installed a library inside the DHS Self Sufficiency Office, and people immediately started browsing books. DHS management and communications heard about the popularity of the Little Library by the next day, and they are planning to write an article about it for dissemination among DHS staff and are sending it to the governor’s office for a publication called My Oregon News, which goes to 500,000 readers. Ted Mack installed a library at St. Vincent de Paul School (more photos next week), and more installations are on the way.
Our first group service project of the Rotary year took place at Lee Mission Cemetery, located at 2104 D St. NE., on Saturday, September 5th. Located in the east Salem area, it is Salem’s oldest cemetery, and is in need of a little gardening TLC. This cemetery is closely tied to Oregon history, and is a nonprofit maintained only through donations and plot sales. Club members brought garden tools such as rakes, shovels, and trimmers, and did a great job of providing a facelift for a large planting area near the cemetery entrance. This was a great opportunity to beautify this historic cemetery and get together in person while practicing social distancing.