A couple of years ago Krista Jones from Hopewell Junction, NY, experienced the death of a good friend from cancer and the realization that four other mothers she knew also had cancer. Krista had been helping her friend, who had three children, by leaving food at her door. She recognized that cancer was sapping the energy and budgets of all these mothers, which led her to found Sparrow’s Nest, dedicated to providing two trays of homemade food each week to the suffering families. Although in the beginning Krista used her own money to set up the charitable organization, she now relies on many donors to provide the expense of serving 15 to 18 moms each week and to expand the operation. For now, Krista herself does all the cooking herself, although volunteers help deliver the food.
Center of Compassion volunteers Julie Gregory, Executive Coordinator, and Karen Finnerty, Community Outreach Coordinator, discuss this complex of humanitarian activities that has been located in Dover Plains for the past eleven years. Founded by Sister Maureen of the Westchester’s Sisters of the Divine Compassion, The Center of Compassion runs a food bank, a weekly community lunch, a backpack program of food for school children, emergency meals for the home-bound, and a thrift store at 7 Market Street in Dover Plains. All the meals they provide are homemade by volunteers. The backpack program, one of their newer outreaches, provides about 50 to 80 children identified by the school system as in need with a Friday backpack filled with six well-balanced meals; the children return the empty backpack to the school on Monday. Mostly funded by local donors, The Center of Compassion also operated with a grant from the Regional Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.
Rotary Day at the United Nations celebrates the important role Rotary had in founding the UN and the continuing relationship. Each year on Rotary UN Day, RadioRotary hosts attend and record interviews with attendees. This year the interviews included Freddie Lee Kaplan discussing the Gift of Life, which is the second largest Rotary Foundation program (after PolioPlus). Gift of Life works to fix congenital heart disorders in children from all over the world. Rotarian Lou Turpin describes ShelterBox, an international effort allied with Rotary that brings shelter and necessities to people facing disasters, whether storms, earthquakes, floods, or other calamities. Todd Horvath discusses a program that brings free prosthetic hands that can grip objects and that resemble real hands; more than 16,000 have been helped with these hands. On a more local level, Jaina Diaz-Kelly and Michelle Eggink tell about how the Rotarian youth organization Interact has changed their lives and helped their communities, while District 7210 Governor (2013-14) Drew Kessler explains why a person should consider joining Rotary.
Additional brief updates about the work of many humanitarian organizations with Rotary connections around the world, including Crutches 4 Africa, Hydrotherapy, Project Peanut Butter addressing malnutrition, and more. This program also includes an interview with several Rotary district governors.