The Rotary Club of

May 12, 2022 Newsletter

Loretta Meeks and Barry Tobias delivered some of the literacy backpacks that we put together with Delta Theta Sigma Sorority to the Early Learning Center as part of our District Literacy Grant. See story below. Note: There will be no Newsletter on May 19. President Barry will e-mail the May 23 meeting link to all members.

President Barry's Message
Film Trivia Contest
I wanted to thank President-Elect Randy Erford for putting together a great social night focused on Film Trivia. The social evening brought fellow Rotarians together in three different teams and brought out a competitive spirit. This was a very fun evening and the humor that Randy adds to these type of events makes it even more fun.
The image on the left shows President-Elect Randy congratulating Team #3, the winning team led by Travis Magoulias. This team just squeaked past by Team #1 led by Harry Mitchell, and both of these teams left Team #2, led by Tony Williams, in the dust. Although Team #3 had some distinct advantages, including more players, some team members participating online, a team captain using a laptop computer (theoretically to allow the online people to participate), and consistently easier questions, we all enjoyed the friendly competition. Randy conducted a drawing among the winning team members to determine who would receive the prize. Wendell Meeks, who was participating online, got the lucky card making him the winner of the grand prize for the competition. Loretta Meeks graciously accepted the prize for Wendell (image below)--a club 100th anniversary commemorative flag signed by the designer of the flag, Rod Buffington.
Tickets for Cards-Cubs Game June 26
As Rod told us at our May 6 club meeting, we are just 18 tickets from reaching our minimum goal of selling 1200 out of the 1500 tickets that are available. The money raised from these ticket sales has helped to fund literacy grants for our district and club for the past 20 years. This is also a very competitive baseball matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs and will be a great game between these two teams. Please reach out to your friends, family, and co-workers to help support literacy as we have for the past two decades. The price is $58.00 a ticket for a game that tickets are very hard to come by. I look forward to seeing all of you at the game with my family. GO CARDS!!!
Monday June 27 Year-end Celebration and Cook-out at Tony and Jan Williams
Please mark your calendars for a year-end celebration and cookout on June 27 at Tony and Jan Williams home. We will celebrate our accomplishments in 2021-2022 and welcome our new President Randy Erford as he and his leadership lead us for 2022-2023 Rotary year. We encourage you to invite your spouse or significant other to this event, but we will need to get an accurate head count. Please reach out to me or Randy Erford so that we can get a headcount for this special event. We look forward to seeing all of you there. The image shows last summer's year-end celebration at Tony and Jan's home. Please join us!
May 16 Meal Reservation
Our May 16 club meeting will be hybrid with the opportunity to dine in person at Maldaners Upstairs or dine at home by ordering a meal to pick up behind Maldaners. In either case, make a reservation!
All meals include the main course, sides, salad, and dessert. Take out meals are well packaged, and are hand deliverd by Maldaner's staff, sometimes by Chef Michael Higgins!
Please make reservations for dining in or take out so we can estimate our food needs and so Maldaners knows you are coming. The deadline for reserving dinner for the May 16 meeting is Monday, May 16 at noon. Meals are $15 each. Please use the following link to make your reservations for the meal for dining in or pickup by clicking: 
For curbside takeout, please place your meal tickets or cash in an envelope with your name and “for Sheila Mack” on the outside of the envelope and give it to the Maldaners staff member that gives you your food. They will get the envelopes to Sheila Mack. Curbside pickup is between 4:45 and 5:15 p.m. To pick up food, turn into the alley behind the building and pick up the food at the back door. It's easy to pick up your food an the food is delicious!
May 16, 2022 Meeting Link
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May 16 2022 Program
May 16:  Lashonda Fitch, Director of Oak Ridge Cemetery, will present The History of Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Lashonda Fitch is the 20th Director and Certified Cemeterian of Oak Ridge Cemetery. Oak Ridge is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln and one of the most visited cemeteries in the nation. Since inception, Oak Ridge has been owned and operated by the City of Springfield, Il. In addition, Oak Ridge encompasses 180 acres, has over 77,000 interments, and is home to the two public mausoleums in Sangamon County.  

Lashonda an accomplished leader, business professional, and trail blazer. She enjoys meeting new people, learning new skills, and is passionate about haring her knowledge and educating others.

Lashonda understands the importance of serving the community. For three years, she served as the board Secretary for the largest home owners association in Springfield, Twin Lakes. She is a past recipient of the Springfield Business Journal’s 40 under 40, and numerous Springfield Chamber ambassador awards.  In addition, she served on the Local First board, the Illinois Women in Leadership board, and served as a Springfield Chamber ambassador for four years.

Currently, she is studying as a National Academy of Sports Medicine, Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach. She is a member of a League of Our Own, Toastmasters, a licensed real estate professional for the state of Illinois, a Certified Les Mills Body Pump instructor, a member of the Fresh Visions Community Church Health and Wellness committee, and the co-leader of the Fresh Visions Community Church Financial Ministry Committee.

In her spare time, she enjoys time on the deck with her husband, walks in the park, coloring, listening to audio books, and when weather permits, she averages 120 miles on the local bike trails each month. You can learn more about her story on her linked in profile.

If you have suggestions for future speakers, please let Stacy Kelly know.
Delivery of Literacy Backpacks
Barry Tobias and Loretta Meeks helped deliver the literacy backpacks that we packed with partners from the Delta Theta Sigma sorority as a part of our last year's District Literacy Grant. They delivered backpacks to the Early Learning Center (lead image) and to the Teachers Learning Center at Wanless School (image to right).
At both locations, they met Cristol Tiller, who is the District 186 Elementary Homeless Liaison and is shown in both images and is next to Barry in the image to the right. At the Early Learning Center, Principal Lori Harrison is also shown receiving the backpacks in the lead image standing next to Loretta. At the Teachers Learning Center, their Director, Darcy Baker, received the backpacks and is shown in the image on the right standing next to Loretta. The backpacks will be given to preschool children experiencing homelessness. 
Club Fundraising Success
At our May 9, club meeting, our Club Foundation Treasurer Bill Smith announced the exciting news that our club's fundraising efforts brought in $40,800. The funds were raised through numerous efforts, including our flag service project, the annual citrus fundraiser, the March Madness fundraiser for PolioPlus, our 50-50 drawings, our brag-a-bucks, and our share of the proceeds from the joint Springfield Clubs' chicken dinner. These funds support a variety of great causes including our community grants program, scholarships for UIS and Lincoln Land, and the Rotary International PolioPlus fund. Thanks to our members for their generosity.
Youth Exchange Program News
Bill Kempiners, our current Youth Exchange Officer, gave us great news about Youth Exchange Programs at our May 9 club meeting. Tawan-OK Sirichote, who goes by Maii or Mark, from Sathorn (Bangkok area), Thailand will be our inbound student for the 2022-2023 school year. Our Club is sponsoring Maii, along with the Sathorn Rotary Club. A host family in Springfield has been identified for him in Springfield, and he will go to Springfield High School. We are eager to meet and learn more about this young man when he arrives in mid-August.
We are currently sponsoring an outbound student for this school year (2022-2023), Mark McDonald, and presented him with check for $2,000 to help him prepare for his trip abroad on Foundation Night (image below). At the May 9 meeting, Bill Kempiners noted that one of the recent Rotary Youth Leadership Award students is also interested in being an outbound student this school year. She is actively pursuing the appropriate approvals now and we have agreed to sponsor her this year if arrangements can be made. Our Club Foundation manages the Bellatti Kincaid Fund, which helps provide support for Central States Youth Exchange Students.   
Bill also reported on the great representation of Springfield-area students (21 of the 45 students!) at the recent Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) gathering. Our club sponsored 5 students for RYLA. He announced the exciting news that all of the Springfield-area participants are interested in creating a Community Interact Club.
District Scholarships 
This message was emailed to all Rotary club members in Rotary District 6460.

Did you know about our Rotary District 6460 scholarship program?
Rotary District 6460 offers $3,000 scholarships to college students who have completed at least 24 credit hours of instruction and either attend a college/university in District 6460 OR are originally from District 6460. We are currently accepting applications for these scholarships, which are due on May 27. The application, along with more eligibility criteria, can be found on the District website at, and we are actively encouraging more applications from all throughout our District. 

(Note that Rotarians, spouses of Rotarians, and lineal descendants of Rotarians are not eligible for the scholarship.)
Since 2013, this program has awarded between four and six scholarships per year, with FIFTY scholarships in total now having gone out to students from throughout West Central Illinois.
You probably noticed that I said we award "between four and six" scholarships per year. Why does that number fluctuate? It's because the number of scholarships we can give out each year depends on how much financial support the program receives.
Hopefully that's got you asking, "Well, how can I support the program so we can award more scholarships?"
The answer is that 100% of these scholarship monies come from local Rotarians' contributions to the Annual Fund of the Rotary Foundation. If you would like to see our District scholarship program continue and perhaps even increase in scope, you can make a contribution to the "Annual Fund - SHARE" at or, if you and I will be in the same place at the same time sometime soon, get me a check payable to the Rotary Foundation, and I'll make sure it gets where it needs to go.

If you have questions about our District scholarships, please contact our Scholarship Chair Lynn Coers of the Mainto-Forest City Rotary Club at


Ryan Byers
District Governor
Rotary International District 6460
June 26 is Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park
Mark  your calendar and order your tickets now! We have scheduled our annual Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park for June 26 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Our game time is 1:10 p.m. and will feature another exciting match up of the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. I have 1500 tickets for Rotarians in District 6460 to sell.  On May 1, ticket prices increased, but are still a bargain at $58 each. So buy your tickets right away to be sure that you will have a spot at the stadium. 
Please remember to sell tickets to friends, neighbors, relatives, colleagues, or anyone who would enjoy a great baseball game and the opportunity to support literacy projects. Proceeds from ticket sales support District 6460's Literacy Grant Program that funds projects proposed by clubs in our district. So sell as many tickets as you can and be certain that our club submits a proposal for a literacy project to benefit the community. To purchase tickets now click on Ticket Order Form or download this form from the download files section on our website homepage (
I hope you sell numerous tickets and that I will see you at the Ball Park! I am arranging for a bus, and we will need about 52 riders to make it affordable. Spread the word about the availability of a bus and check out the article below to reserve your seat.
Baseball Tickets are Still a Bargain
Our "Early Bird" sale for our annual "Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park" is over, but tickets are still a bargain at $58 each. The game is June 26 in St. Louis between your favorite Cardinals or your favorite Cubs!  Go to the front page of Rotary District 6460 website  or click on Ticket Order Form here to get the order form. 
Game time is 1:10 p.m. at Busch Stadium, St. Louis.
The seats are in the Left field loge - Section 267 next to McDonald's Land.  
Rotarians and friends of Rotarians and all game fans we need your help in selling out 1500 tickets for this game. Our annual game has raised over one-half million dollars over the past 19 years for helping children and adults gain literacy skills within our Rotary Communities.
Take the Bus to Family Day at the Ballpark
The Rotary Club of Springfield Downtown is sponsoring a bus to the annual "Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park" on June 26 for the game in St. Louis between the Cardinals and the Cubs.
Send a $30 check made out to Rotary Club of Springfield to reserve your seat!
Send check to:  Baseball, 2001 Barberry Drive, Springfield, IL 62704  
Round-trip cost per fan:  $30
Bus will leave from the park lot behind Macy's upper level at White Oaks Mall
Bus arrival at White Oaks parking lot:  10:00 a.m. (Sunday, June 26)
Bus departs from Springfield for trip to St. Louis:  10:30 a.m.
Bus departure after the ball game:  The bus will leave one hour after game with a tentative departure time from St. Louis of 6:00 p.m.*
*The bus departure time after the game is tentative. However, the decision was made to depart one hour after game to give fans time to return to the bus without rushing. 
I hope to see you on the bus and at the game! Thanks for supporting our literacy grant program.
2022 Volunteer Opportunities and Thanks
Looking for Flag Service Volunteers

Flag Service deployment is coming up soon! For the Memorial Day distribution we expect to have more than 500 flags to distribute in routes with 25-30 flags. Flag Installation will begin during the week before the Memorial Day (May 30) weekend!

Many hands make light work! We are recruiting for more folks to help with conduit installations (for new customers) and to take or team up with a spouse/friend/child/fellow Rotarian for a distribution route. This is an excellent service opportunity for just a few hours work. Please consider helping out with this. At our May 2, meeting, Marty requested volunteers to test the solar lights that are used to illuminate the flags at night (see image to left). Volunteers can pick up lights from the storage shed and put them out in their backyard in the sun to charge and then test to see if the lights come on. Contact John Loftus ( or Marty Michelson ( if you have any questions and about what you could do to volunteer and sign up for this worthwhile projects. Proceeds from flag program help support our community grants program. 


Collaborative District Club Grant to Help the Homeless

Preparation of the dinner for the homeless by Cafe Moxo has been postponed to May 12. Special thanks are due to club member Chris Atchison (image below) for volunteering to help deliver the meals to participating shelters including Helping Hands, Sojourn, and the Mini O'Beirne Crisis Center. Remaining funds in the grant will be used to provide blankets and other needed services for Sojourn Shelter.
Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery Fence
Our club is helping the Nursery spruce up a pinwheel garden for spring by sanding and painting a small picket fence by their front walk. Volunteers proposed some optional dates to the Nursery. Volunteers who signed up will win a Tom Sawyer straw hat, along with the fun. 4-6 volunteers are needed. Thanks to Megan Norman, Jasmine Gibson, Joe O'Beirne, and Stacy Kelly for signing up. Vicki distributed straw hats to volunteers Megan, Stacy, and Joe at our April 18 meeting. Check with Jasmine Gibson for more information about sanding. To find out about the status of painting, contact
Ridgely School Micropantry
Volunteers are needed to monitor and stock the pantry for two shifts each month (Shift A during the first half of the month and shift B during the second half of the month). The image on the left shows the micropantry at Ridgely School. Thanks to the members who have volunteered covered the following shifts:
April A        Ross Hodel
April B        Sheila Mack 
We still need volunteer to stock the pantry during May!

We are looking for additional volunteers to carry us through the summer shifts. Please consider signing up for a two week shift, provide food to the individuals stocking the pantry, or drop off items anytime you are in the vicinity of Ridgely School. Use of this pantry has been very heavy during the cold weather. The following article provides good guidelines for the types of items that are needed.  Contact Vicki at if you wish to help stock the Ridgely School Micropantry 
Little Libraries
There will also be opportunities to assist with our Little Libraries by sorting and stocking books. The image below shows the Little Library at Ridgely Elementary School. Details will follow soon.. Barry Tobias needs help locating movable carts for two little libraries that are otherwise ready to be installed.
Stuffing Backpacks for our District Literacy Grant
Thanks to all the volunteers from our club and our partners from Delta Sigma Theta for helping stuff the backpacks for our District Literacy Grant. The backpacks are being distributed to pre-school children who are experiencing homelessness.
Contact Vicki at if you would like to volunteer or suggest new projects. 
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 Membership Application in a new window. You can also download a 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 Rotary Membership Committee
Thank you. 

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.
I included this image of Norm Megginson volunteering at the Central Illinois Food Bank because we are all thinking about Norm at this difficult time. 
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