Centerville Rotary Club has partnered with local children’s nonprofit Hannah’s Treasure Chest for the fourth year to provide warm winter coats for children in need.
The club raised nearly $7,500 to purchase 419 coats from Operation Warm, a Pennsylvania nonprofit organization that provides quality, new coats to children in need through partnerships with other nonprofits. The Rotary Club then donated the coats to Hannah’s Treasure Chest for that organization to include in care packages for children in need.
“The coats provided by the Centerville Rotary Club arrived at just the right time to help local children stay warm this winter,” said Sarah Williams, executive director of Hannah’s Treasure Chest. “Each year, just as the need has been the greatest, their generosity has boosted our ability to provide new, warm coats in the right sizes to the children we serve.”
Ron Hollenbeck, current president of the Centerville Rotary Club, introduced the project to the Centerville Rotary Club four years ago when he moved to the area from Pennsylvania.
“In Pennsylvania, I was a member of Rotary with Richard Sanford, the founder of Operation Warm,” Hollenbeck said. “When I moved here and suggested this project to Centerville Rotary, the members were intrigued.”
Over the past four years, the Centerville Rotary Club has provided Hannah’s Treasure Chest with nearly 1,350 new children’s coats purchased from Operation Warm. The club collects donations from members from July to September to help fund the cost of the coats.
“We’d like to invite other Rotary Clubs in the area to join in this project so we can provide even more coats to keep kids warm,” said Hollenbeck. “There’s such an unmet need that we can all help fill.” In 2017 Centerville Rotary would like to combine fundraising efforts with other Rotary Clubs or service clubs to increase the number of coats purchased for children in need. Club president Ron Hollenbeck may be reached at 937-885-3902 to schedule a presentation to interested groups.
The Dayton Rotary Club, which meets each Monday over lunch at Sinclair Community College, has been running a coat program as well, since the fall of 2010. Coat Chair project chair Alisa Ferguson Zink, who serves as Vice President of Heartland Federal Credit Union, has wrangled this project for several years, encouraging the Dayton club members to donate a coat, or money to purchase a coat and then she handles the coat shopping. Each year the club raises funds to provide a winter coat, hat and gloves for over 200 students.
“When we first started we selected one school to support in the district. In the last several years we have purchased coats to support the homeless population of students in the DPS school system and if resources allow to go beyond the homeless to serve additional students in economically disadvantaged home situations,” shared Laura Erbaugh, Dayton Rotary’s Executive Director.
Just yesterday the Dayton Rotary Club received a grant from Rotary District 6670, which is made up of 52 Rotary clubs and over 3,100 members, for $4000 to purchase additional coats this year.
There are 34,282 Rotary clubs worldwide and over 1.2 million individuals have joined these clubs. The Rotarian’s primary motto is “Service Above Self” and it’s obvious that these clubs take is serious, working to keep children in the Miami Valley warm all winter. For more information on Rotary or to find a club near you, visit the District website.