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We are planning on taking down the Holiday Decorations on Thursday. We are going to meet at the CVS parking lot at 4:30 PM and as long as we have the help we should have the decorations put away in Kimball’s basement within an hour. If you have a ladder, screw driver and wire cutter please bring.
The February 1 Breaking Bread Kitchen community dinner will be hosted by our Rotary Club.  Vito Vitrano will be the leader that night and he will need volunteer support from the club.  A Sign-Up Genius will go out shortly seeking Rotarians to sign up for all of the jobs involved in providing a successful meal to our neighbors.  Please consider signing up to help that night.  
We enjoyed a very informative visit from Paul Harris who spoke at our January 3 meeting at Koi.  Paul updated members on how Saint James Place is doing in its first year of operation and what the organization hopes to achieve in the future.  Saint James Place "was created to save the historic St. James Episcopal Church & Parish House, and to preserve and repurpose the buildings for use as a permanent home, creative hub and year-round quality performance venue for cultural and educational nonprofit organizations," as explained on their website.  The image above is also from their website.  To learn more about Saint James Place you may go to their website at the following link: https://saintjamesplace.net/
 
The board voted unanimously to provide a contribution of $200 to Volunteers In Medicine at their meeting on January 8th.  VIM's mission is to "provide access to free, comprehensive health care for those in the Berkshire region who are income-qualified and uninsured or underinsured."  To learn more about Volunteers In Medicine, visit their website at the following link: http://vimberkshires.org/
Beginning in February, our Rotary Club will shift our efforts to collect food for the People's Pantry from weekly collections to a once-monthly food drive.  The first Wednesday of each month will be Rotary's food drive day for the month and it will be called "The First Wednesday Rotary Food Drive".  An item of the month will be named and Rotarians will be asked to bring that item to contribute to the People's Pantry.  As always, all items on the list of items sought by the Pantry will be welcome but the item of the month will provide focus.  The need for support for those in our community who struggle to make ends meet has grown and the Pantry has seen an increase in members of the community seeking food for their families.  It is our hope that by emphasizing the drive once per month we will help more Rotarians remember and prioritize bringing food to contribute on that one day each month and in doing so will increase the total amount of food collected for the People's Pantry by the club. 
 
Food contributions will be welcome any week and will be transported to the food pantry as they always have been.  Cash or check donations to the People's Pantry will continue to be welcome and are greatly appreciated and strongly encouraged.  Donations of food are very helpful but the Pantry could not stay in business without a steady inflow of cash.  Since the People's Pantry is all-volunteer with no paid staff, almost all donated cash is used to buy food.
 
Our first "First Wednesday Rotary Food Drive" will be held on Wednesday, February 7.  The item of the month will be CEREAL.  Cereal is a great item for winter because you can shop early and leave your contribution in your car until February 7 without risking frozen cans or jars of food bursting or becoming damaged and compromising the safety of the food they hold.  Please consider bringing some cereal on February 7 to make our first "First Wednesday Rotary Food Drive" a big success!
The annual Youth Exchange Ski Weekend will be held January 19th thru the 21st. We will need volunteers and a host for the pizza party Friday the 19th, people to help at Butternut Saturday and Sunday during the day, and volunteers and a host to help with a dinner Saturday night. We will also need host families for the weekend.  Please consider helping in one or more of these ways.  A sign-up tool will be circulated shortly.
 
Just in case you haven’t gotten around to it yet, another e-mail from the Rotary Foundation reminds us that the Foundation will be happy to accept donations even after the month of November. You can even send them directly to the Foundation, I think; if you put your Rotary number on the check, they should be able to credit it to our Club’s efforts. Let's meet our goal in Linda Day’s memory: 100 percent participation and an average of $100 per member. 
 
There is still time to make a contribution to the Watson Fund to support families in need in South County this holiday season.  Contributions may be dropped off at any Berkshire Bank branch of mailed to The Watson Fund c/o Berkshire Bank; 244 Main Street Great Barrington, MA 01230.  To learn more about the Watson Fund and Rotary's involvement, please read the story below from the Facebook page of The Watson Fund:
 
The Watson Fund -- a South County Holiday Tradition
 
Jack Watson can't remember a Christmas without the Watson Fund. His father, John Watson, was the Great Barrington Bureau Chief for the Berkshire Eagle. It was 1936, the Great Depression, and John Watson had seen a lot of families in real need while out on the beat. He knew the families personally. He knew which children needed winter boots and "kind of" could guess their shoe sizes. He knew which cupboards in which homes would be lightly stocked with the holidays approaching and all. It was a small town and he was a local reporter.
 
At first it was called the Community Christmas Cheer Fund. There were some cash donations, but for the most part in those early years, John Watson simply went merchant to merchant with a list in hand. A boy's sweater, a girl's warm scarf, a basket of potatoes and carrots and squash.
 
Jack was seven or eight when he first helped out with the Fund. He was a Boy Scout. Two days before Christmas, Scout Master Charlie Schneider would gather Troops 22 and 23 to join members of the Great Barrington Rotary Club in the upstairs room of the old brick firehouse on Castle Street. The stairs were steep, but that did not stop them hauling up boxes of food and clothes purchased in bulk with donations to the Fund. They divided and packed the goods into individual boxes with the name of a family on each. On the morning of Christmas Eve, Scouts and Rotarians alike would come back and start deliveries to all the homes.
 
John Watson would make sure all donors to the Fund were publicly thanked in The Eagle. Most of the contributions were "in memory of" a family member or friend or were made as a donation in lieu of cards.
 
When John Watson died in 1963, the Community Christmas Cheer Fund had grown into a proud holiday tradition serving families in Great Barrington and Housatonic. But who would continue the tradition?
 
It was Charlie Schneider who approached Jack Watson. Jack was young and was just setting up his own accounting business and his memories of working with his father and his Scout Troop on the Fund were strong. He took up the challenge -- but not without help. Great Barrington Rotary Club members jumped in also. The Fund's name was changed to the "John S. Watson Fund, Inc.," also known as the Watson Fund, to honor its founder and a new phase of a tradition began.
 
Under Jack Watson's chairmanship the range of families served grew to include those throughout South County. The focus remained on clothes and food, not toys. The objective was to address practical needs. Cash donations grew to $25,000 per year. All contributors are still thanked in weekly press releases.
 
There were adventures, like the time Jack was making a delivery up Elm Court and over the railroad tracks. It was icy and the borrowed truck slipped down the bank and onto the tracks. Someone notified the railroad company that a truck was on the tracks. Jack made some calls. Peter Adams came by with a wrecker and pulled the truck out. Jack continued on his way making deliveries. It wasn't the only vehicle-stuck-in-a-bank story. Some of the homes were remote and more than one Rotarian lost the way when making deliveries.
 
Even though recipient families were encouraged to be at home on Christmas Eve morning to accept the donation, there was always at least one knock on the door that went unanswered. It fell to Jack to make the delivery later. And he could normally discover the family at a relative's or at a friend's for the holiday. The towns of South County are still relatively small and folks know each other. Jack credits Arlene Dezieck of the Visiting Nurse Association for "working up the list" of families in need. Mary Harrigan of Berkshire Community Action Council and now Community Health Program's Dorothy Heath has stepped in to help. A call goes out where families can request food or clothes donations from the Fund.
 
The work of the Watson Fund -- gathering names, collecting food and clothes, packing up boxes, and delivering -- is all accomplished in the matter-of-fact spirit of "let's get this done!" No thanks are needed. No special credit is given. It is community people doing work for their community by helping those most in need. "Of course we want to give to the Watson Fund," was Matt Massiero of Guido's comment when asked for a donation. "It is just what we do." Jack and his wife Barbara retired and moved to Nevada in 2004 to be near their children. But they remain on the board of directors of the Watson Fund. A local team, chaired by Kim Whalen of Smith Watson, continue the work with the help of many. This year the Great Barrington Rotary Club has formalized what has been a long-standing informal relationship with the Fund by creating a Watson Fund Committee. Rotarians Ray Murray, Ed McCormick, Susan Smith, Bobbie Hallig, Julie Hannum, and Gary Kobran are bringing their contacts and skills to support a valued South County initiative.
 
DEC 21 : LISA  HENRIQUES - $50.00
DEC 22: SABRINA  RIGGIERO - $50.00             
DEC 23: ROBERT KRUPSKI - $50.00
DEC 24: STEVE  AGAR - $50.00
DEC 25: GARRETT  HAPP - $500.00
DEC 26: JAMES TRUDEN - $50.00
DEC 27: NUCOLE  KROUZ - $100.00
DEC 28: PAT  SALVI - $50.00
DEC 29: DAVID   PEARLSON - $50.00
DEC 30: BENES   GLACKMAN - $50.00
DEC 31: ELIZABETH CARTER
 
Due to the fact that Crissey Farm has a conflicting event on January 3rd, our regular club lunch meeting will be held at Koi, 300 State Road in Great Barrington.
 
The food pantry item this week is BEANS. (NB: All items from the list below are welcome any week.  The item of the week is to give guidance to various organizations soliciting donations to ensure all categories are covered each week.  If you don't have the item of the week but can grab another item out of your pantry on your way to Rotary, please do!)
 
If you're thinking ahead...
January 17: PASTA
January 24: TUNA
January 31: CANNED VEGETABLES
February 7: CEREAL
 
 
As we transition back to using Club Runner as our platform for the bulletin we are experiencing some technical difficulties.  I haven't yet figured out how to remove the "read more" links from the news items that don't have more to be read.  Hopefully, by next week I will have that figured out.  In this issue of the bulletin, only the article about the Holiday Lights actually has something more to be read.  
If you have anything you would like included in the weekly club bulletin, please send it my way.  We are working on developing a new approach to our bulletin and would be happy to include information you would like to communicate to the members of the club.  Please email anything you would like included to executive@camphirock.org.  The bulletin generally goes out on Tuesday or Wednesday so please consider Monday night your deadline for inclusion in that week's bulletin.  Thanks, Jessica Speer-Holmes
The Breaking Bread dinner on December 7th was a great success.  The dinner was led by Oskar Hallig and Mike Zipel.  Oskar, the current vice-chairperson of the Great Barrington Rotary Club also serves as the chairperson for the Breaking Bread Committee.  On December 7th, we served beef stew with pasta, salad, bread, and cookies and fruit. The other wonderful volunteers who made the evening possible were Rotarians Barbara Manring, Bobbie Hallig, Suzanne Arre, Stephanie Carlson, John Benedict, Michael Wise, Alice Naylor.  The Rotarians were joined by Dottie Bonbrake our great Mt. Washington helper.  We served about 50 people!
The following news post was recently added to the Great Barrington Rotary Facebook page.  We're including it here for those who might have missed it or who might not use Facebook:
 
 
 
Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

Great Barrington

Service Above Self

We meet Wednesdays at 12:15 PM
Crissey Farm
424 Stockbridge Road (Route 7)
Great Barrington, MA  01230
United States
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Speakers
Richard Stanley
Jan 17, 2018
Rotary Trip Across US
Cynthia Pansing
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George Gilder
Jan 31, 2018
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