The Rotary Club of Temecula is one of the largest Rotary Clubs in the Inland Empire comprised of over 110 local members, including some of the city’s well-known business and community leaders. For more than 110 years, Rotary members have been addressing challenges around the world. Grassroots at the core, Rotary links 1.2 million members to form an organization of international scope.
It started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on February 23, 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of its members.
Rotary Club of Temecula takes great pride in their community service, especially during the holidays. The club’s Signature Community Project each year is the Holiday Baskets Program which provides holiday meals and toys for Temecula Valley locals in need. The program was implemented by Rotarian, Bob Brown over twenty years ago. Bob’s vision began with helping approximately 50 families during the holidays in 1997. According to Scott Davis, the club’s current Holiday Baskets Director, “Today, we feed between 225-260 family’s each year at Thanksgiving and provide gifts to over 300 children during Christmas.”
“It really does take a Village and each year our members come together with friends and family to help as many people in the valley that we can,” says Craig Davis, current President of the club. “The City of Temecula provides a grant each year and has donated space for the food and toys that are graciously donated by the community, and Temecula Fire & Police Department help with the toy collection. In addition, our local schools donate and collect canned foods for families at Thanksgiving and Toys during the holidays”, says Craig Davis. How does the club determine who’s in need of help? They generally receive confidential suggestions from the Health Clerks at local schools and the Directors of local non-profits, S.A.F.E (Safe Alternatives for Everyone), Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Research Center, Oak Grove Center, Rancho Damacitas, and Mary Phillips Senior Center.
It takes a tremendous amount of fundraising to maintain the club goals of not only providing for families in need during the holidays, but everything else that Rotary Club of Temecula does in the community each year. Their major fundraiser takes place in March and they’re extremely grateful to those that support Rotary. Taste of the World will once again take place at Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula.
The club would also like to thank their friends at Uncle Bob’s Sports Bar in Temecula. Once the owner heard what Rotary was doing in the community, Bob Craig immediately solicited donations from his employees and patrons this past year and collected several toys. In addition, a generous amount of Kohl’s Gift cards was donated to the club and given to the teenagers that are considered too old for toys at Christmas. Also, Julie Ngo and Jerrod Novodoczky, Rotary members and local State Farm agents solicited and received a nice donation from their company that was used this past year for our Holiday Basket Program and they’re gratefully supporting the club again in 2018.
Rotary members will begin collecting non-perishable food in early November from local schools, businesses, and friends. Rotarians and local volunteers will sort the food on a Saturday, pack the food on Monday, and deliver the food to all the families on Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving. A week following the Thanksgiving Holiday, the same Rotary members and volunteers will start collecting toys and the same ritual is repeated a week prior to Christmas, as over 300 gifts are delivered to families in the Temecula Valley.
“We sincerely appreciate our volunteers during the holidays and it feels great to help out the community,” says Scott Davis. If you’d like more information on ways that you can donate or volunteer for the Rotary Club of Temecula, please contact current President Craig Davis via his email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Better yet, if you’re interested in becoming a member, please contact our Membership Director-Kim Kelliher at email@example.com.