While the rest of the world came to a nearly complete halt during the pandemic, the Wheat Ridge Rotary, along with Rotary clubs worldwide, continued to meet and plan important community service projects. The Wheat Ridge Rotary’s 35 members met virtually for lunch every other week and once monthly in the evening. This club has been meeting consistently for over 45 years. Not even COVID-19 could stop this valued tradition.
Despite the new challenges that the “new normal” brought, the club still found new opportunities to serve the community. Quick action by members brought a website to life that partnered with local small businesses to offer e-gift certificates and gift cards – an effort to support the local businesses that are so important to the Wheat Ridge community while they struggled through government-mandated closures.
Additionally, the club created and delivered special gifts for the most vulnerable and most isolated members in the community. Small “Rotary Roses” were created using a club member’s 3-D printer. These unique tokens, along with handwritten notes, were given to people at various senior living centers throughout the community. It was a simple and creative way to let these community members know that they were missed and were still connected while being apart for so long.
Longtime Rotary member Bob Brown was one of these very people that was isolated in his community and unable to leave or see visitors for much of 2020. It was tough for the club members who had known Bob for so long to not be able to see or help the fellow club member and friend. However, that didn’t stop Bob from joining in the meetings virtually via a tablet and doing his part to help other community members in need. Bob emulates the true core value of Rotary: Service above self.
Once things began to open up a bit, the club was able to complete a modified version of their annual spring Flower Power project. In a normal year, the club collects leftover flowers and arrangements from the annual Home and Garden Show and delivers them to senior citizens around Wheat Ridge. Since the show was canceled this spring, the Rotary leadership figured out a way to keep the program going by partnering with a local business. Echter’s Nursery (5150 Garrison St.) graciously sold the flowers and pots to the service club at half price. This donation helped the Rotary to still deliver flowers (and smiles) to seniors. The club members included handwritten cards and delivered the flowers to eight different senior living homes on May 8.
“Our project is intended to bring smiles to seniors after a long and lonely year,” said Rotary Club President Carole Adams. “We want to let them know that we care about them and consider them a valuable part of our community.”
The project wouldn’t have been a success without the partnership from Echter’s Nursery, help from club members, and the community volunteers from Localworks. It’s no surprise that the Wheat Ridge Rotary Club continued to attract new members throughout the pandemic. As people craved community connection, the Rotary never fell short on providing service and connection to their club members and to community members in need.
Visit WheatRidgeRotary.org to get involved, learn more about the Wheat Ridge Rotary Club’s projects, or to become a member.