Originally published on The Swellesley Report
The Wellesley chapter of Rotary International has been part of our community for over 74 years, yet most residents remain in the dark about the role of the organization, both locally and globally.
The Wellesley Rotary Club is one of over 34,000 chapters worldwide. Like most individual chapters, it focuses mainly on helping to find solutions to local social, economic, or health problems that are impacting the lives of some of our residents. Funds come from local fundraising events, such as the popular Taste of Wellesley event, as well as from sponsorships and grants. There are lots examples of the many programs to which Wellesley Rotary contributes such as Mass Bay Community College’s Food Insecurity Program. Food Insecurity is the lack of resources for sufficient food and the impact of hunger. This a problem that affects up to 52% of the student population.
Other local programs include:
- partnering with Boston Children’s Hospital to help adolescents with depression. This Wellesley initiative has been brought to several countries including Nigeria and India
- helping Wellesley restaurants deal with the economic impact of COVID by purchasing 1,000 meals for delivery to first responders
- supplying face shields to the town’s retailers and masks to MassBay, Elizabeth Seton Residence, and the Kids Backing Kids program, and contributing to Community Investors to help them run their sports programs for our local youth
- providing over 400 tree samplings to our public-school children to plant in town each year
As for the International organization, Rotary has chapters in over 122 countries. Its 1.2 million members donate countless hours to help fight disease, feed the hungry, support the environment, provide water for underdeveloped villages, and fund jobs for the disadvantaged. In addition, Rotary’s work for the past 30 years has contributed to helping eliminate the deep poverty that affects millions of people worldwide.
Another major Rotary International focus has been to help eradicate polio worldwide. Rotary has contributed $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to vaccinate more than 3 billion children in 122 countries against this paralyzing disease. Alongside many partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, these efforts have contributed to a 99.9% reduction in polio cases, with fewer than 200 cases of wild polio reported in 2019 compared with 350,000 annually just 30 years ago. The global infrastructure and facilities created to fight polio have been redirected to help in the fight against new diseases that affect the world population such as SARS and Ebola. Rotary is now gearing up to help with global COVID vaccinations when they become available.
October 24 is World Polio Day. It’s a time to mark not only the ongoing work to end this disease, but a time to celebrate all of the lives that have been saved and improved.
That’s a brief summary of what Rotary is all about. We warmly welcome new members who want to make a difference. It really doesn’t take much of a time commitment or contribution, and I can personally attest that it is incredibly rewarding plus you’ll meet some amazing people. Please visit the Wellesley Rotary website, WellesleyRotary.org or call me at 781.237.5000 to learn more.
Thanks for your time, and I look forward to talking with you. —Vin Spoto