All Things Rotary: A CDS Podcast

But Like, How Do I Organize A Service Project?

August 17, 2021 CDS Americas Season 2 Episode 1
But Like, How Do I Organize A Service Project?
All Things Rotary: A CDS Podcast
More Info
All Things Rotary: A CDS Podcast
But Like, How Do I Organize A Service Project?
Aug 17, 2021 Season 2 Episode 1
CDS Americas

We can all agree that service is truly the heart of Rotary. In celebration of the new Rotary year and RI President Shekhar’s theme, Serve to Change Lives, we are kicking off Season 2 of All Things Rotary to hear about 3 service projects, organized in distinctly different ways. First, a district-wide project in Orange County, California, followed by a multi-club project from two clubs in Kent, Washington, and a single club project from the Rotary Club of Chilliwack. While all these projects utilized different leadership methods, one thing is clear—they were a success. We can’t wait for you to take a listen and feel inspired, too!

Host: Nick Taylor - Club and District Support Associate Officer


District Project:

Marc Aarons, PDG 5320, Rotary Club of Orange County Digital, CA, USA 

Two Club project

Kate Matos, Rotary Club of Kent, WA, USA

Alex Brown, Rotary Club of Kent Sunrise, WA, USA

David Mitchell, Rotary Club of Kent Sunrise, WA, USA

Single club project:

Shelley MacDonell, Rotary Club of Chilliwack, BC, Canada

Producer: Sarah Steacy - Club and District Support Associate Officer
Transcription done by John Hannes - Club and District Senior Officer

Show Notes Transcript

We can all agree that service is truly the heart of Rotary. In celebration of the new Rotary year and RI President Shekhar’s theme, Serve to Change Lives, we are kicking off Season 2 of All Things Rotary to hear about 3 service projects, organized in distinctly different ways. First, a district-wide project in Orange County, California, followed by a multi-club project from two clubs in Kent, Washington, and a single club project from the Rotary Club of Chilliwack. While all these projects utilized different leadership methods, one thing is clear—they were a success. We can’t wait for you to take a listen and feel inspired, too!

Host: Nick Taylor - Club and District Support Associate Officer


District Project:

Marc Aarons, PDG 5320, Rotary Club of Orange County Digital, CA, USA 

Two Club project

Kate Matos, Rotary Club of Kent, WA, USA

Alex Brown, Rotary Club of Kent Sunrise, WA, USA

David Mitchell, Rotary Club of Kent Sunrise, WA, USA

Single club project:

Shelley MacDonell, Rotary Club of Chilliwack, BC, Canada

Producer: Sarah Steacy - Club and District Support Associate Officer
Transcription done by John Hannes - Club and District Senior Officer

All Things Rotary: A CDS Podcast 
2.01: “But Like, How do I Organize a Service Project?” 
Host: Nick Taylor


District Project: 

  • Marc Aarons, past district governor (District 5320),Rotary Club of Orange County Digital, California, USA

Two-club Project:

  • Kate Matos, Rotary Club of Kent, Washington, USA
  • Alex Brown, Rotary Club of Kent Sunrise, Washington, USA
  • David Mitchell, Rotary Club of Kent Sunrise, Washington, USA

Single-club Project:

  • Shelley MacDonell, Rotary Club of Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada

Produced by: Sarah Steacy

[Intro Music begins]

"And it just gives me a great satisfaction when I, you know, giving back. I mean, it just really warms my heart that I could help someone, give them a step up."

"I think that service, for me, is seeing our neighbors in need and being able to do something in response to that."

"It wasn't Rotary just doing things for other people, it was Rotary doing things with other people. And all of us being served."

"...and the work that was done really encompassed that desire to be a part of something greater that does something more than just beneficial to me, that helps the community at-large."

"I think service comes and speaks from your heart, and then lifts itself in action. So, it's important for my personal value set, and I've found a community of Rotarians that feels exactly the same."

NICK: Hello, everyone and welcome to season two of All Things Rotary: A CDS Podcast. As we begin this new Rotary Year, we decided to focus our first episode on service. As you may know, RI President Shekhar Mehta's Theme is "Serve to Change Lives." Service is heart of Rotary, and service cannot be done with out, of course, Rotarians! Today, we will hear about three different projects. A district-wide project in Orange County, California; a multi-club project from two clubs in Kent, Washington; and a single-club project from the Rotary Club of Chilliwack. We can't wait for you to take a listen, and see what went into executing these projects and how they might inspire you and your club to serve to change lives this year.

[Intro Music fades]

NICK: Perfect! Well, we're excited to be here with Past District Governor Marc Aarons from District 5320. And Marc, if you don't mind explaining just a little bit about who you are, what district/club you're from, and your kind of Rotary story, so-to-speak.

MARC: Sure, no problem! I'm in the Orange County digital club. We are a new club and we do Zoom and focus on service projects as our main focus, so, we get together to do service projects once a month. We have about 40 members in our club, and I started in Rotary about 20 years ago and wanted to give back to the community, and get involved in the community and been in a few clubs since then. And then, like you mentioned, I became district governor in 2019-2020 and we saw a need for bringing all the 46 other clubs together during the pandemic to do something towards/to help for the pandemic. So, that's kinda where the idea came from, was a lot of things were shutting down and we were trying to figure how can Rotary - Rotarians in our community -  help our community.

NICK: Mhmm. Yeah, and I think that was a big concern at the beginning of the pandemic, right? Like, everyone was - they wanted to help, but they didn't necessarily know how to help.

MARC: Right.

NICK: And everybody wanted to do service projects, but you couldn't really gather together and do them in-person. So, could you just explain a little bit about what you guys did to overcome those barriers, what the project was in itself, and, um...

MARC: Sure!

NICK: ...yeah.

MARC: So, we did a face shield project at the beginning of the pandemic - we had a contact with the local hospital CEO - and he says, "we could really..." we asked him "what could really benefit from...what can we get to you that would help you be successful in helping us with this pandemic?" And, at first it started off with actual masks, you know, the cloth masks...

NICK: Mhmm

MARC: ...and we weren't able to get our hands on any of those. Then, it switched to face shields and he actually introduced us to a local vendor - medical vendor - that they buy from in California, and we actually were able to meet with that vendor and they donated all the labor of cutting everything and sending us the stuff by costs. Then, we went out and we raised about $140,000-$150,000 from the club members in about three to four days, which allowed us to put together about 75,000-100,000 face shields. We ended up doing a pilot program, where we just got four people together in a warehouse, which was six feet apart, had masks and sterilized, and were able to put together and assemble these masks in a three-step process. And we were able to get that done - we did 1,000 masks that way. And then people heard about it, they wanted to get involved. And so, we had Rotarians that had connections with city officials that opened up city facilities that were following the guidelines of CDC to have six feet apart, sanitize, masks, gloves, gowns. And we were able to, we had a total of about 819 volunteers - some were from the community and some were from all the Rotary groups - and we did about three to four weekends at seven different locations throughout Orange County/Long Beach and were able to build about 140,000 face shields that we donated to all the local hospitals, nursing homes, fire departments, police departments, you know, people in the jails - Orange County jail - nurses and stuff that work in the jail system, and we were able to help them, you know, subsidize what they needed.

NICK: Wow, that's [chuckling] quite the endeavor! And it's always fascinating hearing those numbers, like, so much money, so many face shields, so much success in such a short amount of time. So, one of my questions is: you mentioned at the beginning with your club being a service project oriented club. So, what made you think that, maybe this was bigger than a club project and more of a district project?

MARC: It actually, you know we wanted to - as a district governor at the time - wanted to engage Rotarians that could come out, that were healthy, that were able to - you know, we took people's temperatures and everything and all the standards. And, what I first did was called probably about 50% of the presidents and said "what is your club doing for service, and can we help you?" 

NICK: Mmhm.

MARC: And out of the 50%, there was probably only two or three that were actually doing something. And so then I got a committee together on the district-level and say, "hey what can we do that - where's the need in Orange County?" And that's kinda when we hooked up with St Jude's hospital. And so, that's where it kind of started from, where, this was bigger - you know, because my role as a governor, I wanted to make sure that we gave opportunity of service to the people that were able and willing to do service during this time, and still stay healthy and follow all the guidelines.

NICK: Yeah.

MARC: And it just kinda came together.

NICK: Absolutely! And, you mentioned about partnering, like, with different organizations and reaching out to city officials. Was that all just through connections and networking with in Rotarians' circles?

MARC: Absolutely. It was all Rotarian connections from each of the clubs. It was all, you know, we had one mayor that was a president of a Rotary club and he opened up a facility for us in that city. We had another government, city manager, in another area that's our RYLA district chair. You know, we had lots of different officials that are involved in Rotary, or someone in Rotary knew them and had an influence with them to get us a facility.

NICK: Yeah, and I love how - I mean it's just a simple ask..

MARC: Yup!

NICK: ...from what it sounds like. Asking the clubs what they needed, and then asking the clubs who they knew kind of thing.

MARC: Yeah.

NICK: So I mean it's - sometimes we overthink these things, but really it's all about asking. And, when you first told me about this project, one of the things that most stood out to me was how you promoted it. Could you tell us a little about, like - 'cuz I mean it's one thing to do something, but you want people to know and you want people to gravitate toward this type of work.

MARC: So, yeah. So, one of the main objects that I wanted to accomplish during my governor year - before the pandemic hit - was more visibility to the community of what Rotary's doing. So I had someone that was a press director for the district, and she did a great job of reaching out to every-single news outlet with snippits of what we're doing. We ended up having been on KTLA, CNN, CBS, ABC, all the local papers, Orange County Register, The Los Angeles Times, and they did live snippits with us working in Anaheim. And, because we had that out there, the we also said you could go to Givesome in the community - which is a website, - and we had set up a project link on hat site where anybody, non-Rotarian, Rotarian, could sign up for a location and a timeslot and it we would have all the information for them. She brought the news out to us, and we were on the news! We were on the news three or four times which, like I said, the first weekend was - we maybe had 20 people. By the time the news hit, we had people from all over the place coming and signing up, so we ended up with 819 people to participate. 

NICK: So, people were seeing this on the news..

MARC: Yes.

NICK: ...and they were going to help because, yeah, I mean that's...

MARC: Yeah!

NICK: ...that's cool, because I think at that time everyone wanted to help and not everyone knew how.

MARC: Exactly. And it actually ended up happening out of that was we created this new club, which, 90% of these members of the new club are from the face shield project.

[Transition Music begins]

NICK: And in the club you chartered? 

MARC: Yeah.

NICK: Wow, I had no idea! That's very cool! Excellent!

MARC: Yeah, it's a great service project. It really helped, and it takes a team of people! I mean, yeah I was a district governor and yes I kind of spearheaded it and kinda got it up and going, but, you know, Dan Ouweleen was a big part of the operations, Ray Sanford and Beth Fujishige and Janet and, you know, our committee ended up being - we used to meet every night by Zoom - our committee was 25 or 30 people...

NICK: Wow.

MARC: ...that stepped up to get this organized, and do this. And Dan Ouweleen really spearheaded it. I had him be the chair for the event and he did a great job by putting it, you know, organizing it. And he has, he owns a manufacturing plant so we do a lot of stuff there with social distancing in Fullerton, California.

NICK: So great to hear from Marc Aarons, and hear how District 5320 really stepped up and did a great project! Next, we're heading to Kent, Washington to hear about a multi-club project known as "The Frosty Village."

KATE: Sure, my name is Kate Matos. I am the immediate past president of the Kent Rotary Club, number 119, so it's a traditional lunchtime, once-a-week club. 

[Transition Music fades]

NICK: Excellent! And we've got two other people here, so let's hear from Alex and Dave. 

ALEX: Sure! My name is Alex Brown, I'm the immediate past president of Kent Sunrise which is, I guess, the sister/brother club to Kent Noon club. We are anywhere between 15 and 20 - we have, probably, 14 consistent members. 

KATE: Small, but mighty. And our club is about 60.

NICK: Excellent! 

ALEX: That just means that more people like to eat lunch, than breakfast.

NICK: [Laughs] Hey, there's nothing wrong with that! It's hard to get up, sometimes. Aright, Dave?

DAVE: So, yeah, my name's Dave Mitchell and I, initially, was a member of the Kent Noon club for about, I think it was about 5-6 years. And then I, because of my work schedule, I shifted over to the Kent Sunrise. So I now enjoy breakfast with Alex every week!

NICK: Sounds great! And, the second I reached out to your district governor out there in 5030 or, I guess, at this point immediate past district governor she had glowing reviews about this amazing project coming out of Kent, Washington! And so, we'd love to hear a little bit from whoever wants to just jump in and get it started. What is this "Frosty Village?" Tell me all about this.

ALEX: Well, Kate, you wanna Dave...

KATE: I was gonna say, Dave, do you wanna give a brief summary?

DAVE: Sure! Sure! Yeah, well, Frosty Village was a solution to a problem that kinda came about from the COVID-19 pandemic. Kent is a wonderfully diverse community - we currently rank as the eighth most ethnically diverse community in the country. And, as you may know, quite often ethnic diversities are more marginalized and have more challenges as it relates to catastrophic events, like the pandemic. And, so, food insecurity became a key issue that we, as a community, wanted to deal with. And, the Kent Community Foundation rallied a bunch of organizations led by the Rotary clubs - both Rotary clubs in Kent - to address this pressing issue we had in the community, of food insecurity. And we started to really rally, we knocked down a whole bunch of barriers of working, so that we could all work together to solve this community problem. And I would say that was probably one of the most remarkable things about Frosty Village. So, Frosty Village is a refrigerated storage area that we created from containers behind a city-owned hockey rink called the  ShoWare Center in Kent. It's where the Seattle Thunderbirds play hockey. In fact, this new Seattle Kraken team is going to be playing a pre-season game there, coming up pretty soon. But, you know, you can't solve a problem just with equipment, being a refrigerated storage. You need volunteers, you need training, you need a strategy and a plan. And, again, what we were able to do in a very collaborative way is to address all those problems. We ended up providing more than 3.5 million pounds of food to people who were food insecure in the Greater Kent area. And that came through tons of volunteers. It came from the Rotary club of Kent stepping up in funding certain things like the rentals on these refrigerated containers, paying for forklift repairs, propane, shrink wrap. But, more importantly, it was about recruiting and providing volunteers. People who would consistently show up. We were a five or six day a week operation for the entire summer, last year. 

NICK: Wow, so this was not just like a one-and-done, show up one day, put in some good work, and go home and feel good about yourself. This was a...


KATE: This was like..

NICK: ...a multi-month operation.

KATE: This was a...

ALEX: For sure and, you know, for...

KATE: ...get your hands dirty kind of operation [laughs]

ALEX: ...for longer than I can even recount, you know, Dave would send me the text every morning, "Hey, you know, you're either gonna have to leave early, or I won't be at the meeting today, because, gonna be killin' it at Frosty Village." So, you know, we didn't get to see Dave's face for a long time but we know that, you know, Kate and I -as involved as we try to be - were proud presidents at the time, watching our club really come - our clubs, I should say - come together and really get this thing done. And Dave was such a pivotal and crucial part of the Frosty Village operation, which is why I thought it was important that he come on here today. In fact, he was, he got district recognition, club recognition, for his work at Frosty Village.

NICK: That's excellent! And, so, I guess my question is: You said that you recognized a need and you wanted to fulfill, you know, satisfy this need that was in your community, specifically with marginalized groups and food scarcity. Who took the initiative? Was it...was it just, like, Dave did you just volunteer? Kate, like, did you delegate? Like, what happened? Can you explain the beginning process a little bit?

KATE: Yeah, so, Dave Mitchell is currently the interim executive director for our Kent Community Foundation. And it was his predecessor who called me right at the start of COVID and asked if I would just join a phone call to talk. And when I got to the phone call, there was maybe eight people and that became a once a week phone call, and then a twice a week phone call for an hour each meeting, and grew to maybe 30 people at a time attending. And this group of volunteers from all across the Kent community, so that's: Rotary, Kiwanis, non-profit organizations, government, just talk through what we were seeing, what the issues were, and maybe what some solutions might be. And there was one meeting where we had, I'm gonna say, the call-to-arms. You know, we've been talking about the issues, but finally someone said, "Look. Here's the situation. We have a pop-up food distribution facility. I was scoping out different ways to distribute food and I saw a number of people fight over the last food box when food bank ran out of food. I have, potentially, 500 families coming through our distribution site in 48 hours and we have nothing because we're not getting any boxes this week." And from that first call we rallied, I'd say, the entire community to provide the food for those boxes. Which really kinda got us looking at the issue of the variability of resources that were coming into the community and how to more efficiently distribute them. I think Dave can speak a little bit more to that strategic vision, of how to make sure that the food coming in was distributed on a regular basis out. But that's kind of where it started, was just everybody -  when you hear a story like that, you can't help but take action.

NICK: Mhmm. And was that just all word of mouth? Like, beyond that phone call you were having? Like, was it just kind of like, "hey I know this situation," and then people just got emotional about it because it's such a touching thing and then people just instantly volunteered?

KATE: Yeah, and I think before you didn't know where to start. It was a huge problem, what is - we had limited resources - where do we begin? And that's where, you know, our community service chair had attended a couple calls, our then-president had attended a couple calls, other Rotarians. And immediately after that we had a quick committee meeting, we started to take action, contracts started forming with different distributers - and at that point in time, that was just us. You know, other organizations were doing the same thing, so Kent Sunrise started to mobilize, our partners in Kiwanis, and so on. But there, right at that point, we started to actually work and then actually work together.

NICK: Nice. 

DAVE: Yeah it was - it was pretty amazing, you know, so we have food banks in Kent, as most communities do, but the need, we estimate, was five-times what the food bank typically would handle. And so they were just not able to scale, at all, in that way. And so what we did - and I think this is a testament to both Rotary and other organizations in Kent - we set aside all of the typical alliances and "oh I'm part of such-and-such." We were here to solve a problem, and we set aside all the differences because we had people in need in our community. And we were all committed to making it work, irregardless of whether we were a service club, or a faith-based organization, or the city, or whoever - we just set it aside and got to work. And it was fun doin' it! It really was. We really had a good time, we established some great, I think, lifetime relationships with each other. And, we demonstrated that we can solve big problems. You know, 3.5 million pounds of food? I would have not believed that we could do that over the course of, you know, basically a long summer.

NICK: Yeah, and who - what was the volun - because this was such a like, complex endeavor over a long period of time, I imagine that volunteers were needed almost around the clock. Like you said, you were [laughing] - Dave wasn't able to go to a lot of Rotary club meetings because you were, you know, having to deal with stuff with the Frosty Village project. So, who were your volunteers? Were they just from your club? Were you able to get community members, other organizations?

DAVE: Yeah, the majority of the volunteers were Rotarians. But we had, you know, we had school teachers, we had para-educators, we had people from the city. But, the Rotary people were the leaders of this group. We were able to establish a connection with a local trucking company who provided their director of training! We actually had people from our club get certified as forklift drivers. And including, you know, CPA tax accountants and nurses - emergency room nurses! And people who had never been on a forklift before, by the end of the summer they were exceptionally skilled and professional forklift drivers.

NICK: And now they added that to their LinkedIn profiles, and resumes [Dave laughs], and they're like, [laughing] "I'm a forklift operator, if you ever need.." That's so awesome but, like, what a great way to kind of involved people! And it sounds like people really had to step up, and really had to do something that maybe they weren't used to, or comfortable doing. And the project, tell me a little bit - it ended - did you have, like, was the idea to just kinda go until the food ran out? Did you have a set time in place?

ALEX: So, Dave, correct me if I'm wrong, too - you know part of the project that doesn't get as much light is all the farms and the food banks that collectively came together to do that. And we had the director of the Kent Food Bank come in and say, you know, during COVID - what was her figure? 80% of the volunteers couldn't make it because they were elderly.

[Transition Music begins]

ALEX: So a lot of that, on the tail end, those needs went to the food bank and they have shifts where Uber Eats now will take food boxes, cuz they've got the supply - they just need the labor. So, after Frosty Village ended, the need still is met in different ways. And so volunteers at the food banks help with distributing food now that Frosty Village is done. 

KATE: Yeah, the first transition was: we partnered with the Kent and Covington clubs, Kiwanis, and Kent Community Foundation to apply for a district grant, matching grant, to expand the storage capacity and refrigerated storage capacity in five, different food banks in our area. And then, to Alex's point, at some point they needed more volunteers. So, the third shift  - the first two shifts being National Guardsmen - the third shift at Kent Food Bank became the Rotary. And so we have Kent Rotarians, Kent Sunrise Rotarians, other members of the community who were part of the Frosty Village project working once a week to make those packages that are being provided by United Way and Uber Eats.

[Music continues]

NICK: What a great project by the Rotary clubs in Kent, Washington! Last, but not least, we head over to the Rotary Club of Chilliwack in Canada to hear about another great project that they did.

[Music fades]

NICK: So excited to have another example of a great service project. We have Rotarian Shelley MacDonell on the line with us today. And so, we're going to give Shelley a little opportunity to explain who she is, where she's from, and what project her club worked on.

SHELLEY: Thank you! Thank you for the invitation! My name is Shelley MacDonell, as you've mentioned, and I come from the Rotary Club of Chilliwack which is very close to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada District 5050. 

NICK: Perfect! Well, thanks so much for joining us today - we really appreciate it! Could you tell us a little bit about this project that your club has been working on?

SHELLEY: Thank you, yes! Rotary Club of Chilliwack, even before the year began, we started asking our members what they wanted to do. So, they wanted to make sure that we had boots on the ground, working in the community of Chilliwack. And then when the pandemic hit, we really focused on looking for a project that was primary needs. So, Feed the Kids was a food security project that developed and the first thing we did was to work in collaboration with those great organizations in our town that were already doing that. That group came, those groups, came together and Rotary became part of that to support the wisdom on the ground already here in Chilliwack for food security. So, we worked with - primarily with - Salvation Army and Bowls of Hope and Starfish Backpack, which gives food for food insecure families in schools.

NICK: That sounds awesome! Real qui - can I cut you off real quick? One of the common trends that I've noticed with other clubs, and other projects such as this, is everyone's working with other community organizations.


NICK: Which I think is really cool, because it collaborates, you know, it gets the community involved. So, my question is: how did you do that? Like, did you reach out to them specifically? Did you have connections? Was it all just, you know, individuals in the club? I'd love to hear more about that, too!

SHELLEY: We have a long-standing tradition of - relationship with - the Breakfast for Literacy program in our schools, we support Salvation Army initiatives, we support backpacks for kids, so we have been working in food security before. But, the opportunity for these organizations to come together in a time of crisis was a key variable. So we had some relationships there. The other thing I did: is I just showed up at food hamper creation and delivery and learned and listened. And then I asked a really important question, I said: what do you need? And then the answer to that question was where Rotary came in with our skill set, talent finance - and we did the Feed the Kids initiative. 

NICK: Fantastic! I love how, you know, worse comes to worse - just show up. Just show up and then ask what needs to be done! I think, sometimes, we over think things and we think that we have to have this beautiful plan going into it. But, you know, sometimes you just gotta show up and ask what needs to be done. So, that's great! So you showed up, you found out what needed to be done - tell me more about how, like, the logistics. How did this actually go about happening?

SHELLEY: So, once we got a clear direction from Salvation Army, they needed one of their food storage places winterized. And the criteria for Rotary grants, I thought: perfect. It's a needs-assessment that's a necessary thing, it's valid, and Rotarians were having a good buy-in, so we looked at the project and developed the grant and were successful. And so, then it was a matter of boots on the ground, cleaning out, winterizing - it was a lot of fun! In COVID times, that became more challenging and I think a key thing is allowing our Rotarians to support the project to the degree that they felt comfortable. Like, some could and did feel comfortable coming in working. Others were background support. So, it was important time for us and it was certainly a good community service and brought us together - but we needed to be really careful around COVID protocols.

NICK: Nice! And, did you partner with other clubs? Or was this just your own club? The Rotary Club of Chilliwack?

SHELLEY: Primarily, it was our own club. Chilliwack is wonderfully [chuckling] interactive, and so some of the wisdom of members of another club that came forward and helped us - cuz they had winterized another building for Salvation Army a few years ago - so I really was grateful for other club support, as well.

NICK: Nice! And what's the size of your club?

SHELLEY: Well, it's about 120 or so - we lost a few to COVID, but we're climbing back up.

NICK: Good! Yeah, so a significant clu - that's a pretty, significantly large club.

SHELLEY: Yes, it is. Mhmm 

NICK: And so, I mean, that is something to take into account when you're, you know, looking at projects and seeing what's feasible and whatnot, but having 120 members definitely helps, you know, kinda take on the larger size projects such as this. Did you have pretty good participation from your club members?

SHELLEY: I think so. One of the invites - I was a bit careful with the invites to...we could only have so many people in this on-site, to be careful for personal safety, so, on this project we - I was looking for people, and inviting people, I knew at least knew what a hammer was and a forklift and had some skillset behind it. And then, as I said, there was some deeper support behind that. So, yeah, bit of an invitation.

NICK: Yeah, no, absolutely! And how was it - was it tough delegating things? Did you kind of lead the charge on everything? Did you have a committee? How did you guys kinda go about organizing it all?

SHELLEY: So I think there was a foundation of support. But, my experience would say there always does need to be a straw boss or a leader on-site, and that ended up mostly being me. I got teased about that, "that's your Superintendent's Voice coming out, Shelley!" [Nick laughs] So, but the skillset was so varied and wonderful on-site with the people, Rotarians that volunteered, that we were in a good place with that. And we took what Salvation Army leadership told us that they needed, and that's key. We're not in there telling them what they need, they're telling us. And so all of those things, working in partnership with them, really helped.

NICK: Nice! And after you guys finish winterizing everything, is there continual maintenance that needs to happen or do you, you know, is this project kinda just completed? Anything that your club is still involved with?

SHELLEY: Yes, so there were two aspects of the work. One was the winterizing, and second one was to bring together resources to help with food delivery and security. And, in that, there - [Music begins] we helped to purchases fridges, tables, storage facilities - all the things that Salvation Army identified, Bowls of Hope identified, as a need to create a food hub in Chilliwack, where all these organizations work out of. So, then there was also some purchasing - we just completed that - and delivery, and maintenance. Now, on every week, at first, and then every-other-week, now, Rotarians meet at the site and do anywhere from 100 to 370 food hampers for families here in our local area.

[Music continues]

NICK: Alright! Of course we have to take a couple minutes here to think about how these services projects connect as Club and District Support, and some of the common themes we noticed from these interviews. What really stuck out to you, Sarah?

SARAH: Something that I really noticed was the collaboration with community and other Rotarians. I think about Past District Governor Marc and how he ended up creating an entire Rotary club because of the interest with the community.

NICK: Yeah, totally. And, I mean, all these projects really couldn't be done without outside help, which is what I find most fascinating. Like, even though, like, the Rotary clubs themselves had the idea, in order to make that idea become a reality, they needed help from, you know, government workers, industries nearby, partnering organizations. Like, in the Frost Village, they needed volunteer hours from other people. And, like you said, in California that collaboration actually led to an entirely new club, which is really, really cool to think about!

SARAH: Definitely! And I think it just, like, really emphasizes the point of connecting to other Rotarians as well, because the reason they got those connections to the community was by Rotarians or club leaders or district leaders asking fellow Rotarians who they knew. And I think that also helped with engagement, and it empowers other Rotarians to, you know, lead projects on their own - and to take those initiatives - and I think that's what's so important for Rotary clubs.

NICK: Yeah, I mean I think that was totally another theme that stuck out, was just the need to ask. Ask, you know, what needs to be done. We saw that with the Chilliwack club, we saw that in Kent, Washington, and in California - all three just, you know, whether it was just asking Rotarians what needed to be done, whether it was asking other organizations what needed to be done - it was just that simple ask. And that really, that community assessment - finding out what actually needs to be done - can really drive a project to go the distance, you know, to be successful.

SARAH: Yeah, and it really speaks true to, I think, in Rotary what leadership - what Rotary means - and Rotary is leadership, it's opportunities for leadership, and a good leader is going to ask what needs to be done instead of tell. And, I think we saw from all three examples were excellent - I mean, those were excellent examples of asking instead of telling - and they became such successful projects, and they're still, and all three of them are still running in some fashion now!

NICK: Yeah, they're totally sustainable. I mean it wasn't like they went and did something and then called it quits. Like, yeah, all the projects continue in one form or fashion, which is really, really cool. Well, I don't know about you Sarah, but I feel inspired.

SARAH: Totally! I definitely feel inspired, too. I think there was a lot of great information that kind of just gave examples of what other Rotary clubs can do. And I think it really, again, connecting it back to Club and District Support, or CDS - I think about the leadership and the importance of, you know, empowering your fellow Rotarians to take ownership of projects, to utilize their connections in the community, and to see well, you know, that's how we're going to expand our reach!

NICK: Yup! Thanks again for listening, everyone. See you on the next episode of All Things Rotary: A CDS Podcast.

[Outro Music]