CHESTERVILLE – It looked to be a sweet year: Village Rotarians here were very pleased with funds raised at the Club’s first-ever Maple Syrup and Pancake Dinner that packed the local Legion on Shrove Tuesday in late February.
Then the economy was flattened with the arrival of the COVID-19 crisis, prompting the Rotary Club of Chesterville to shift gears.
Instead of plowing the nearly $1,900 in pancake money into three new village signs this year, the Club recently decided to take those dollars – plus additional funds collected directly for the sign project – and put it toward a more immediate cause: Local self-employed people hit by the downturn induced by the stay-at-home pandemic orders.
Fifteen cheques of $300 apiece were recently dispersed.
Treasurer Betty Vanden Bosch says there is precedent for this sort of investment, as the Club gave out “a pile of money” in small donations to families and individuals during the 1998 Ice Storm. “We gave out a lot more than any other Club,” she remembers.
One of the recipients, local hairdresser Karen Parker, expressed her gratitude in a heartfelt Facebook video. “I appreciate it very much,” tearfully said the Chesterville resident, after reading out the Club’s letter of explanation. The money, Parker said, would go toward her mortgage.
Parker’s video statement, below.
“I’ve had so many customers offer to help me, my mom; it’s not fun being home and not working,” she added, “and financially it sucks, to be honest.”
“The money will be put to good use; it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks.”
The Club has also recently mailed off a cheque for $3,200 to Community Food Share – proceeds of its annual Rubber Duck Race earlier this month. This year’s Race was held as a draw because COVID-19 physical distancing measures would have made the exercise of dropping and collecting the ducks logistically difficult and ethically questionable.