The Rotary Club of

February 23, 2023 Newsletter

Please join us for our annual Foundation Night on February 27 at Maldaners Upstairs. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of two Community Paul Harris Fellows. Our Club's Rotary Circles will also present additional Paul Harris Fellows. Chef Higgins is preparing a special meal for this celebratory event. See article below for more information.

Our project to distribute ready to eat meals expanding! See story below for more details. 

President Randy's Comments
Feb. 20 Presentation on the Illinois Amish Heritage Center
This past Monday, on February 20, we enjoyed a fascinating presentation on the Amish Community of Central Illinois. Our featured speaker was Wilmer Otto, President of the Illinois Amish Heritage Center Board (Image on left).  He was joined by our own Vicki Megginson who has lent her fundraising expertise to the Board over the past several years. Together, they summarized the history of the Amish from their inception in Switzerland to their settling in America and also described recent achievements and future plans for the Illinois Amish Heritage Center in Arthur, Illinois.
Ready to Eat Meals and Other Items Slated for Turkey
Prior to our scheduled program for our February 20 club meeting, our Springfield Rotary Foundation President Dave Fowler provided the Club with an update on our recent effort at food distribution to Central Illinois and also to the earthquake victims in Turkey.  He was joined by fellow Rotarian Katherine Turner of Baja Bridges, Mexico (image below), who, with assistance from Midwest Mission, is helping us to ensure an enormous donation of pre-made meals can be distributed both locally and overseas to those in need. More detail is provided later in this Newsletter.
Feb. 27 Foundation Night
Next week, on Monday, February 27, we will hold our Annual Foundation Night at Maldaners Upstairs. The festivities will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the Awards Ceremony will start at 7:00 p.m. See Article later in this Newsletter for more details.
March 6 Social Night
In two weeks (Monday, March 6) we will hold a Social Night, so keep your wits about you as it is rumored that this time valuable prizes may be awarded!
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Black Hawk School Literacy Project
Our 2022-2023 Literacy Project, funded through the District 6460 Baseball Program, is underway at Black Hawk Elementary School in Springfield. This week, Project Director Loretta Meeks delivered a check to the school representatives (image on left) to pay for books for an expansion of their Reading is Fundamental Program to include K-2 students.
As part of the project Rotarians in our Club will read the books to and with students in these grade levels. The image below shows the school's and the student's commitment to literacy. We are happy to help the Black Hawk Bees by purchasing new books and helping them with their reading.  
Donation of Ready-to-Eat Meals and Supplies to Turkey
At our February 20 club meeting, Springfield Rotary Foundation President David Fowler and Katherine Turner, President of Baja Bridges and a member of the Rotary Club of Baja Mar, Mexico (image above) announced an exciting expansion of our partnership with Midwest Mission to distribute ready-to-eat meals in central Illinois, the Baja Peninsula region of Mexico, and Arizona (see Newsletter article below). The partners originally planned to distribute many of the meals to earthquake victims in Turkey, but the Turkish Consulate put a hold on the shipping of the meals from O'Hare International Airport. At our club meeting, Fowler and Turner distributed a February 16 press release from Midwest Mission describing an expansion of the project that includes sending meals and other supplies to Turkey. This article is paraphrased from Chantel Corrie's Midwest Mission press release. The image below shows Chantel and Dave discussing the project in the Midwest Mission Warehouse.
One of Midwest Mission's Partners, the North Star Foundation, recently reached out to see what Midwest Mission could send to Turkey for disaster relief. The North Star Foundation has a pre-existing relationship with the Turkish Consulate, which allows shipping containers sent via boat to enter Turkey, and they can also send supplies through Turkish airlines. North Star indicated that they needed packaged hygiene supplies including shampoo, toothbrushes, and towels for shipment to Turkey. Midwest Mission already creates and volunteers pack "Personal Dignity Kits" that include shampoo, deodorant, a tooth brush and tooth paste, a razor, a bar of soap, and a washcloth and hand towel for disaster relief efforts. Midwest mission agreed that they could provide Personal Dignity Kits, 2,500 emergency blankets, as well as tents for disaster relief in turkey.
The Rotary-Baja Bridges-Midwest Mission project team is now working out the logistics to also send about $250,000 worth of the ready-to-meals that were originally acquired through Baja Bridges and donated to Rotary for the meal distribution project. Project partners currently need to raise $126,000 to send one large shipping container of humanitarian aid to Turkey. Monetary donations will also allow Rotary and Midwest Mission to quickly buy supplies for kits and address specific requests from partners in Turkey. More shipments will clearly be needed as this project grows from a race to a marathon.    
Financial donations for this project can be made to Rotary Club of Springfield Foundation, P.O. Box 615, Springfield, IL 62705 with notation that the funds are for the Disaster Relief Fund. Donors may also go the Midwest Mission Website ( to make donations.  
Providing Ready to Eat Meals for Shelters and Pantries
A new partnership (image above) among the Rotary Club of Springfield, Illinois; Baja Bridges and the Baja Mar Rotary Club in the Baja California area of Mexico; and the Midwest Mission in Pawnee, Illinois is sharing high-quality ready-to-eat meals with shelters and food pantries across the country. David Fowler (image above, center), Foundation President for the Rotary Club of Springfield, and Katherine Turner (image above, left), Director of Baja Bridges and a member of the Baja Mar Rotary Club, initiated the project when they secured 120,960 meals from a donor in the Phoenix area of Arizona. Chantel Corrie (image above, right), Executive Director of the Midwest Mission, joined the partnership, to provide warehouse space for pallets of the meals and assistance with meal distribution. The image above shows the partners with 52 pallets of meals in the Midwest Mission warehouse in Pawnee, Illinois.
The meals are ready to eat and consist of a main course and dessert and include a napkin, knife, fork, and spoon. Bill Smith of the Rotary Club of Springfield holds one of the meals (image on left). No refrigeration is needed, and no heating is required for consumption. They may be stored at room temperature for up to two more years. The main course for the meals includes dishes such as Chicken Pasta Parmesan, Vegetable Stew with Beef, Turkey Chili with Beans, Three Cheese Omelet with Beef Chili and Beans, and Vegetable Lasagna, and all meals come with dessert.
A total of 52 pallets, each including 576 meals, was already delivered to the Midwest Mission warehouse and was featured by WAND news on February 13. The image below shows WAND interviewing Dave Fowler about the plans for meal distribution. Partners picked up another truckload of 80 pallets of the meals on February 17 in the Phoenix area. These meals were delivered to the Food Bank in Bloomington, IL on February 21. Dave Fowler arranged for the United Way of Central Illinois to announce the availability 30,000 meals free-of-charge to shelters, food pantries, and other nonprofit organizations that distribute meals in central Illinois.  As of February 23, 15 nonprofits in central Illinois have requested meals. Meal delivery is slated for March 1 and 2. David Fowler has already arranged for enough volunteers to assist in this effort.
Project Partner Katherine Turner is working her Rotary Club, the Baja Mar Rotary Club in the Baja California area of Mexico, to distribute meals in their region. As news of the availability of the meals spread, Past District Governor for Rotary District 5500 Diane Ventura-Goodyear coordinated a request from her club, the Tucson Sunset Rotary Club, for 20 pallets of the meals for distribution to seven shelters and other nonprofits in the Tucson area of Arizona (image below).
Rotary Foundation Night is on February 27
REMINDER:  The deadline to register for the Foundation Night Dinner was Monday, February 20.  The $36 per person charge per person for the meal is PAYABLE IN ADVANCE.  See information below for details.  NOTE THE CHANGE IN STARTING TIME FROM OUR USUAL MEETING.  IF YOU WERE NOT PRESENT AT THE FEBRUARY 20 MEETING, YOU SHOULD HAVE ALREADY CONTACTED LORETTA MEEKS OR ME TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS.
The agenda for Foundation Night is provided below.  We hope you are joining us to celebrate the Rotary Foundation and recognize a variety of individuals, including our two Community Paul Harris Fellows for 2022 - 2023. Please wear your Paul Harris Fellow Medallion to the meeting.
When: Monday, February 27, 2023
Where:  Maldaner’s Upstairs
NOTE:  Reservations are required
  • 5:30 p.m.:  Cocktails and Hors d'oeuvres
  • 6:15 p.m.:  Chef Michael Higgins presents a special buffet dinner
  • 7:00 p.m.:  Presentation of Paul Harris Fellows
    • Recognition of club member achievements giving to the Rotary Foundation
    • Recognition of new Paul Harris Fellows by members and the club Paul Harris Circles
    • Recognition of the 2022 -2023 Community Paul Harris Fellows
      • Joan Bortolon:  President of Lincoln Land Honor Flight
      • J. Chris Richmond:  Chairman of Moving Pillsbury Forward
The price for this special evening is $36 per person.
The entrée will be specially prepared beef short ribs.  NOTE: A vegetarian option is available.  This option have been ordered when your reservations was made.
Checks should be made payable to the Rotary Club of Springfield.  Reservations should have been made with Loretta Meeks by no later than Monday, February 20. 
Upcoming Programs and Events
February 27 – Rotary Foundation Night Dinner at Maldaners Upstairs
Mark your calendar for our annual Foundation Night Dinner! Our club will be naming two Community Paul Harris Fellows, and each of our Rotary Circles will be naming a Paul Harris Fellow. See the full story on this celebratory event above).
March 6, 2023  — Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs
President Randy Erford will host us for Social Night. Join us for some fun, and get to know your fellow members better.
March 10, 2023   —  Rotary Night at the Symphony
UIS Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m.
Star Wars & Beyond, The Best of John Williams
Harry Mitchell reported that we sold 40 tickets ($33 each) for this event by our January 30 deadline. We have secured prime center loge seating for our group.  
We hope you are joining your fellow Rotarians and their guests for this wonderful performance by our Illinois Symphony orchestra.
March 13, 2023  — No Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs
March 20, 2023  — Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs
Corey Kohlrus: Troxell
Corey will speak about Troxell Insurance company, where he is in his 15th year. He specializes in Property and Casualty Insurance, both personal and commercial. He is also licensed in life and health insurance. He was born and raised in Springfield. He graduated from Sacred Heart Griffin High School and Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.  He has three young children at home: Charlie (6), Henry (4) and Ella, who will be 2 in April.  He is raising them with his wife Courtney, and they have been married for almost 9 years. He earned his CIC (Certified Insurance Consultant) designation in 2020.
Volunteer Update
Ridgely Little Pantry and Library!
Work stocking our Our Ridgely micro pantry (image above) and little library (image on left) continues and is especially important during these cold winter months. Please feel free to drop off any food/toiletries/cleaning supplies as you see fit. With this cold weather, families need these things now more than ever! We thank the Rotarians who have signed up for shifts stocking the micro pantry during the New Year. I encourage everyone to look at this list of Community Gardens and fill the pantry with local fresh fruits and vegetables whenever you're able ( You can see from the image on left,  the Little Library needs more books. If you want to sign up, let me know via email (
Central Illinois Foodbank
We hope to schedule more sessions for volunteering at the Central Illinois Foodbank soon. Stay tuned.
Flag Service
The Flag Service Committee is already meeting and volunteers are already at work. Please consider volunteering for this project. There is much work to be done!
Suggestions for Pantries from People Who Use Pantries
We are repeating a list of suggestions of foods and other items to stock in the Ridgely Food Pantry. These suggestions came from people who use food pantries to help feed their families. 
1. Everyone donates Kraft Mac and Cheese in the box. They can rarely use it because it needs milk and butter, which is difficult to get from regular food banks.
2. Boxed milk is a treasure, as kids need it for cereal, which they also get a lot of.
3. Everyone donates pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles.
4. They cannot eat all the awesome canned veggies and soup unless you put a can opener in too or buy pop tops.*
5. Oil is a luxury and needed for Rice a-Roni, which they also get a lot of.
6. Spices or salt and pepper would be a real Holiday gift.
7. Tea bags and coffee make them feel like you care.
8. Sugar and flour are treats.
9. They fawn over fresh produce donated by farmers and grocery stores.
10. Seeds are cool in Spring and Summer because growing can be easy for some.
11. They rarely get fresh meat.
12. Tuna and crackers make a good lunch.
13. Hamburger Helper goes nowhere without ground beef.
14. They get lots of peanut butter and jelly but usually not sandwich bread.
15. Butter or margarine is nice too.
16. Eggs are a real commodity.
17. Cake mix and frosting makes it possible to make a child’s birthday cake.
18. Dishwashing detergent is very expensive and is always appreciated.
19. Feminine hygiene products are a luxury and women will cry over that.
20. Everyone loves Stove Top Stuffing.
* At our November 29 club meeting, Ross Hodel reported that he followed this advice and stocked numerous can openers in the Ridgely Pantry. He noted that they were quickly snapped up.
Encourage Membership in Rotary
Do you know or are you someone who has a passion to give back to your community? The Rotarians in this image are helping pack essential items for the Illinois Police Department to give to homeless individuals in our community. As a Rotarian, you adhere to the principles of the 4-way Test., which are:
  • Is it the Truth? 
  • Is it Fair to all concerned? 
  • Will it build Good Will and Better Friendships?  
  • Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?  
If you find value in these ideals and want to be part of a great organization, right click on the attached link to open our online Membership Application in a new window. You can also click on this link to download an electronic copy of the Membership Application from our Club's website Home Page ( in the Download Files section. You can send the completed application to the Membership Committee at We look forward to hearing from you! 

Downtown 2022-2023 Rotary Membership Chair
Tony Williams
Record Your Service Hours and Contributions
Please remember to report your service hours and related contributions. Just follow this link:
Please email images of service activities to Bonnie Styles at It's easy to take pictures if you have a smartphone, but even an old style camera works just fine. Send me an email ( to let me know when you will be volunteering for a service project, and I will come out and take some images.
Be sure to turn in your hours for any volunteering that you do on behalf of Rotary.
Did you know that volunteer work is already underway for our Flag Service Project in January? The image below shows Barry Tobias training his son Alec how to use the drill press to drill a hole in a flag pole in his home workshop. After drilling, the holes have to be filed down. Much thanks to Barry for providing this image.
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