Northfield Rotary

Pictured from left, Rotarians Lee and Vicki Dilley, Meredith Galdeen and Anika Rychner present a $15,000 check to Dawn Wegscheid, the Food Access program manager and the Jan. 28 table coordinator for the CAC. (Photo courtesy of Northfield Rotary)

The Rotary Club of Northfield is committing $50,000 to local and international nonprofits to support their work during the pandemic.

A press release states that in December, the Rotary Board of Directors allocated $33,000 to local nonprofits that are scrambling to address unprecedented, pandemic-related demand for services; another $17,000 is designated for projects overseas.

Vicki Dilley, president of Northfield Rotary, said this significant gift comes from club reserves.

“We have always set aside money in case of a rainy day,” Dilley said. “So now, a year into the pandemic, we look around and it’s pouring. We are committed to supporting the important work of our nonprofits to get through this difficult time. We hope others will follow suit.”

Locally, the money is going to: Community Action Center ($15,000), HealthFinders ($5,000), The Key Youth Center ($3,000), Laura Baker Services ($3,000), Hope Center ($2,000), Ruth’s House ($2,000), Northfield Retirement Center ($1,500) and Three Links Care Center ($1,500).

The release states that on the international front, $17,000 will be distributed equally to: Best Future Center in Nakivale, Uganda, for food purchase and distribution; Nourish Bangladesh for food procurement and distribution; Mil Milagros for food, medical care and education services to the same villages serviced by the Rotary's Guatemala water project; the Rotary Club of Dapaong-Tandjouare in the Savannah Region of northern Togo for hand- washing stations to be installed at schools; Polio Plus fund of the Rotary Foundation; and Amnesty International or another organization serving people in the internally displaced people camps of Burkina Faso, home to approximately 800,000 people who have fled Islamist attacks and now live in conditions with difficult sanitation conditions, and limited ability to social distance to control the spread of COVID-19.

"In addition, since last March when the club began meeting virtually over Zoom, funds the club normally spends on its Thursday noon lunches have been donated to local nonprofits," the release notes. "Each week, Rotary pays for 30 lunches for The Key; $250 is donated to the CAC and another $250 is donated, on a rotating basis, to: Rice County United Way – COVID-19 Fund; Project Friendship, Northfield Arts Guild, Cannon River Watershed Project, Northfield Union of Youth – The Key, HealthFinders and Healthy Community Initiative." 

Despite the pandemic, Rotary reportedly continues to meet weekly virtually. Each week there is a featured speaker addressing a wide range of issues. The club’s youth exchange has been put on hiatus due to the pandemic. The last student, Kopano Tsambalagwa of Zimbabwe, went home in January.

Rotary modified its customary fundraisers — 4-Way Taste Festival, Jesse James Bike Tour and the Turkey Trot — this year. They were virtual or socially-distanced. Dilley said the club appreciates the support of local businesses that sponsored one or more events. See NorthfieldRotary.org for more information and check out its programs.

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