The Bonita Springs Rotary Morning Club overcame the pandemic to provide community service to those in need throughout the last year. A local service club with over 70 members, the club seeks to identify and support community needs with volunteer workers and fund raisers. Last April, as the scope of the pandemic became apparent, the club foundation approved a grant of $80,000 to support local food pantries and distribution sites. Dozens of club members volunteered for several months to staff food pantries and distribution sites to support the nutritional needs of local families and seniors.
At the same time the club continued its multi-year pledge to fund construction and exhibits for Lover’s Key State Park’s new education center that opened on May 15. To raise money Rotary members organized and staffed a boat show and seafood fest on Lover’s Key in January for the last several years with significant proceeds from the boat show donated to fund the education center each year. The state park hosts over 1 million visitors annually and the education center will educate visitors and highlight the diverse habitats in the park.
On a Saturday in early May, members completed a project at Everglades Wonder Gardens and cleared an area for and built a new walkway, enhancing this emerging highlight to encourage tourism in our city. The following Saturday over 25 members gathered to Lover’s Key State Park to build three dozen cages to protect turtle nests from predators on the beach. As in previous years the club continued its support for international wheelchair distribution, fresh water projects in Africa and Central America, polio eradication through Polio Plus, and the Gift of Life surgery program to bring critically ill children to our country for life saving surgeries.
Support for local education is a central club goal, and members sponsor Interact and Rotaract clubs for students at both local high schools and at Florida Gulf Coast University to introduce them to Rotary principles and community service. This year the club increased its scholarship support with awards to 17 graduates from Estero and Bonita Springs High Schools to continue their education.
Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self”, and this club seeks to live that motto. The Morning Rotary Club meets on Wednesday mornings at 7:00 a.m. at the Shangri La Resort on Old 41. The club makes it fun to raise money through its annual Christmas Tree and Poinsettia Sale, a year-long Easy-Cash Raffle, and a Reverse Raffle Party in the springs. The club also hosts monthly socials to build friendships and enjoy time together. For more information Rotary and this local club, please go to bonitaspringsrotary.org