West Shore Rotary extends beyond chili

Survey reveals level of charity money raised by Rotaries province-wide

Hue Robertson grills up some hotdogs for the West Shore Rotary barbecue at Langford’s Christmas in the Park this past December.

West Shore Rotary may best be associated with sizzling hot dogs at community functions, but the non-profit helps out in a variety of ways and places.

A recent voluntary survey of Rotary clubs in B.C. found the clubs that agreed to participate in the survey culminated to raise $8.5 million in 2012, for both local charitable work and international humanitarian projects. This was the first time such a survey had been conducted, as Rotary clubs are semi-autonomous and do not have to report their fundraising to the larger organization.

“I knew the amount raised by clubs was high, but never thought that would reach $8.5 million,” said Chris Offer, author of the report, in a press release. “This report demonstrates the often unreported impact of volunteer fundraising in our communities.”

The survey found that West Shore Rotary, with 24 members, raised $15,000 in 2012, according to the report.

West Shore Rotary president Harold McNabb said the money comes from a number of fundraising activities.

“It’s fabulous. Being a Rotarian is great,” said McNabb. “Besides having interesting club meetings and getting to meet really cool people, the stuff that Rotary does is very significant.”

The main event is the Chili Cook-Off, usually held in June, which brings in about $3,000 to $4,000 through entrance fees, tasting tickets and donations.

Another source of fundraising is the club’s barbecue, which it sets up at a variety of events such as Christmas in the Park.

The Rotary also raises a few hundred dollars selling poinsettias around Christmas time.

Locally, the money raised goes towards the Goldstream Food Bank. It also goes towards the Rotary’s BEAR program, which stands for Be Excited About Reading. In the BEAR program club members volunteer and read with children at a Hans Helgesen elementary school.

Internationally, West Shore Rotary supports students at a girls school in Malawi, through the Malawi Girls on the Move foundation. The charity helps local Malawi girls to have the opportunity for an education.

Money is also passed along to New Hope, a church-based boys school in Uganda. Money recently raised by the West Shore Rotary paid for a new floor for the school and money is currently being raised to buy school supplies.

Many Rotary clubs, including West Shore, work with the Gates Foundation in its quest to eliminate polio.

West Shore Rotary also works with Oak Bay Rotary in its work to provide earthen stoves for people in Rwandan villages that otherwise use open fires to cook, which bring health concerns.

Other initiatives such as Mercy Ship International, Rotarians For Fighting Aids and clean water and microcredit projects are supported by West Shore Rotary.

“We just do what we do because we want to see it happen. There’s no payoff to anybody of any kind for doing this,” McNabb said.  “You just do it for it’s own sake. It’s its own reward.”

 

Colwood Rotary did not take part in the survey.

 

 

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