Posted by Mary Lou Harrison, District 7070 Governor 2018-19

“There is nothing intangible about Rotary: It is reality itself. To give is to receive; to lose oneself is to find oneself; to be happy is to serve. These are old truths…for the individual…and the mass, whether application be in the exchange of goods, toil, knowledge, or love.” — The Meaning of Rotary, THE ROTARIAN, November 1921 as written by Crawford C. McCullough, Rotary Club of Fort William, Ontario.

We are in a season of celebrations, times for giving and receiving, and opportunities to get together with friends and family. Whatever we may celebrate as individuals, as Rotarians, we join together in a spirit of service. 

While there are more celebrations of service happening in our District than I could possibly list, I want to highlight a few that have my caught attention and given me both hope and joy this holiday season. 

Our 10 fabulous Rotary Youth Exchange students brought smiles and laughs to the faces of children attending the Rotary Club of Toronto's 89th Annual Children's Christmas Party, held on December 2nd at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. This is the longest-running children's Christmas party in Toronto! (Read the CBC news article here.)

Not only is it party season, it's also Santa Claus parade season! I was delighted to be a judge for the 46th Annual Santa Claus parade organized by the Rotary Club of Markham-Sunrise and the Rotary Club of Markham Unionville. Thank you to all clubs in District 7070 who share the spirit of Rotary in community parades and holiday events.

And some celebrations of service are yet to come. For the first time, the Rotary Club of Bowmanville is organizing A Concert to Feed the Need in Durham. A brand-new Rotarian, Joe Solway, is leading this ambitious project which will feature a fabulous line-up of award-winning musicians all donating their time to help Feed the Need, a regional distribution hub for emergency food providers in Durham, to feed a hungry community in Durham Region. There are concerts at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 16, both at the Bowmanville High School. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. You can listen to an interview with Joe here

In addition to the partnership with Feed the Need, Rotary has a new partnership with Feed It Forward, a food rescue organization in the Greater Toronto Area that has many service opportunities for all members of the Rotary family, including volunteering in the organization's Pay What You Can Grocery Store and helping to find a home for food that would otherwise go to landfill. In the photo to the left, Chef Jagger Gordon, founder of Feed It Forward, is pictured with Chef JP Challet (left) and Chef Bob Butterill (centre), Fort York Food Bank Board Member & Past President of the Rotary Club of Toronto Sunrise

If you are involved in any kind of community food program and could benefit from food donations, please contact Feed It Forward through their website. And, if you would like to be part of providing individual dinners on Christmas Day, you're also invited to contact the organization! Lots of volunteers are needed to help make the day brighter for those who may find themselves alone. 

Rotaractors are also getting involved with Feed It Forward. Stay tuned for news about the Rotaract Club of Markham's soup cart project at Seneca College.

Thank you to each and every member of the Rotary family in District 7070 for the difference you make in the lives of others. May you receive in giving, find yourself in putting others first, and create happiness through service.

Yours in Rotary, 

Mary Lou

Mary Lou Harrison, District Governor 2018-19