Posted by George Raymond on Feb 20, 2018
You will recall that we had been geared up for a large collection of cereal on February 7 (the first Wednesday of the month).  But that meeting was cancelled because of a snowstorm.  The following week's meeting, February 14, was lightly attended but there was, nonetheless, a good collection of cereal and money (checks). I hope there will be more donations tomorrow (Feb. 21) from those unable to donate last week because they weren't at the meeting. And, to those who have not yet taken any action to participate in this major push:  Please buy hot or cold cereal before tomorrow's meeting or write a check to "The People's Pantry" and bring it in.
Thanks in advance.
Cereal for the People's Pantry--Important Information George Raymond 2018-02-20 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by George Raymond
Big food collection tomorrow at Rotary.  Cereal, hot and cold.  As many boxes as you feel you can donate.  Don't let the People's Pantry down!
In the event you do not attend tomorrow's meeting (weather related perhaps), please bring the items you have purchased to next week's meeting.
Warning: In the unlikely event you are planning to bring something other than cereal, keep in mind that canned goods, which typically contain a lot of water, will likely freeze if left in your car overnight. That could result in an obvious rupture of the can or worse an unseen cracking of the can's seal.  The tiny cracks will allow microbes into the can resulting in spoilage and creating a potentially dangerous situation.
Thanks in advance for all you can do to make this project a success. 
This Week is the First Wednesday Rotary Food Drive George Raymond 2018-02-06 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Vito Vitrano
We had a great turnout for Breaking Bread this past Thursday to help serve over 50 people. Thanks go out to Hank Ferlauto our cook, Susan Arre who made the most delicious cup cakes, Janet Dahoney, Mary White, Oskar Hallig and Mike, Michael Wise and Ray Murry who took care of the dish washing, Alice Naylor, Steve Agar, Nancy O'Conner, Pam Pescosolido, Anne Hutchinson and Maria Vitrano.
Thank you all. 
Vito Vitrano
Thanks to the February 1 Breaking Bread Team! Vito Vitrano 2018-02-06 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Michael Wise
January is a time for making resolutions. Rotary formalizes this, but on a different calendar. Incoming presidents are supposed to have set goals back in June, and then they get a year to try to follow through on them. The Rotary International website gives clubs some useful tools for setting goals and tracking progress. Six months into my term as your president, it’s time to review the state of the “resolutions” I put onto the webpage last spring.
The first one was to grow. We did add some members, but we lost more, so we’re down a bit from last June. John’s goal for last year had been to reach 65 members. I scaled that back to 60, but we’re now at about 50. Adding ten in the next six months will be a challenge. To get to 60 from where we are now, ten members will have to step up to invite and sponsor a new member.
The second was to be sure everyone is involved. The target is to have at least 50 members engaged in a club service project. I think we’ve come very close to that. Reviewing the membership directory, I could place every member at at least one of our service events since last June.
There’s more on my wish list: more social activities, greater public visibility, a new community service project, maybe a new fundraising project, a community forum about Rotary International’s core priorities, collaboration with other Rotary clubs in the area and with InterAct. So many ideas, and now so little time.
Setting goals does focus attention and stimulate imagination. But planning should not take more time than doing. There’s much to be said for showing up to do what we already know needs to be done.
President's Message Michael Wise 2018-01-30 05:00:00Z 0
The food pantry item this week is TUNA. (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...
February 7: CEREAL
People's Pantry Item of the Week Jessica Speer-Holmes 2018-01-23 05:00:00Z 0
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 has been circulated 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 are still looking for one server, one dessert helper, one dish washer and one person to help with clean-up at the end of the night.
Breaking Bread to be Held by Rotary February 1 - Volunteers Needed 2018-01-16 05:00:00Z 0
The Great Barrington Rotary Breaking Bread Kitchen Committee is seeking one more Rotarian who would be willing to provide leadership to one dinner this year.  The nights left to choose from are May 24 or December 27.  Please contact Oskar Hallig if you would be willing to provide leadership to this important community service effort on behalf of our club.  Leading typically involves cooking the main course (there are usually plenty of volunteers to assist and Vito has an easy menu template you can follow to keep it simple).
Breaking Bread Kitchen Leader Needed for Either May 24 or December 27 2018-01-16 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Michael Wise
Rotary takes time. Not all of us have much time, and we don’t always have it when something needs to be done. So tasks like taking down the Main Street decorations last Thursday fall to the usual half-dozen stalwarts who can be free at 4:30 on a weekday (and who have big pickup trucks). Attendance at weekly meetings has been trending downward, probably for similar reasons: for some it can be hard to get away for that long every week. The membership committee is processing the ideas from our discussions last fall about what we should expect from each other and how our club might adapt our schedule to the realities of modern professional life. We’ll get their report soon.
Whatever the particulars, I trust we will follow the principle, which ought to have an equivalent in Rotary lore, of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” [I’ll pay a $10 fine Wednesday if someone identifies the original source of that.] Which is to say, we’re all in this together and we all do what we can.
President's Message Michael Wise 2018-01-16 05:00:00Z 0
The annual Youth Exchange Ski Weekend will be held January 19th thru the 21st. Thank you to all who have volunteered to help with the weekend and to host exchange students.  John Benedict will be circulating an email with housing and volunteer assignments tomorrow.  We will be hosting twelve students this year for the ski weekend!
Youth Exchange Ski Weekend Scheduled for Jan 19 - 21 2018-01-16 05:00:00Z 0
We enjoyed a very informative visit from Fred Harris who spoke at our January 3 meeting at Koi.  Fred 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:
Fred Harris of St.James Place Spoke at the January 3 Meeting 2018-01-09 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Edward McCormick
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.
Volunteers Needed to Take Down the Holiday Decorations Thursday Edward McCormick 2018-01-09 05:00:00Z 0
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:
Support for VIM 2018-01-09 05:00:00Z 0
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.
Watson Fund Update 2017-12-26 05:00:00Z 0
DEC 21 : LISA  HENRIQUES - $50.00
DEC 22: SABRINA  RIGGIERO - $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
Lotto Winners for the Week of Dec 21-31 2017-12-26 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Michael Wise
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. 
Five More Days for Rotary Foundation Contributions in 2017 Michael Wise 2017-12-26 05:00:00Z 0
January Board Meeting Moved to January 8 2017-12-19 05:00:00Z 0
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.
January 3rd Meeting Moved to Koi 2017-12-19 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jessica Speer-Holmes
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.  
Apologies from the Editor Jessica Speer-Holmes 2017-12-12 05:00:00Z 0
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  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
Call for Club Bulletin Content Jessica Speer-Holmes 2017-12-12 05:00:00Z 0
No Regular Lunch Meeting This Week Jessica Speer-Holmes 2017-12-12 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by Jessica Speer-Holmes
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:
Holiday Lights Post from Facebook Jessica Speer-Holmes 2017-12-12 05:00:00Z 0
Posted by 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!
December 7 Breaking Bread a Great Success Jessica Speer-Holmes 2017-12-12 05:00:00Z 0
Notes for July 19, 2017 Michael Wise 2017-07-18 04:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for July 5th, 2017 Michael Wise 2017-07-04 04:00:00Z 0
November 2nd, 2016 Bulletin John Benedict 2016-11-02 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for October 26th 2016 John Benedict 2016-10-25 00:00:00Z 0
October 19th Bulletin 2016-10-19 00:00:00Z 0
Test Bulletin John Benedict 2016-10-14 00:00:00Z 0
October 12th Bulletin John Benedict 2016-10-12 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for October 5, 2016 John Benedict 2016-10-05 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for September 28, 2016 2016-09-28 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for September 21, 2016 John Benedict 2016-09-20 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for September 14, 2016 John Benedict 2016-09-14 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for September 7, 2016 John Benedict 2016-09-05 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for August 17, 2016 John Benedict 2016-08-16 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for August 10, 2016 bene 2016-08-10 00:00:00Z 0
The Berkshire Bike N Fly is coming up soon! John Benedict 2016-08-04 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for July 27, 2016 John Benedict 2016-07-27 00:00:00Z 0
July 20th Bulletin John Benedict 2016-07-19 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for July 13, 2013 John Benedict 2016-07-12 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for June 29, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-06-28 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for June 22, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-06-21 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for May 25, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-05-24 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for May 11, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-05-11 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for May 4, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-05-03 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for April 20, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-04-19 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for April 13, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-04-12 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for March 16, 2016 2016-03-16 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for March 9, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-03-08 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for February 24, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-02-24 00:00:00Z 0
Posted by Susan Smith on Feb 01, 2016
Current Membership: 59 members
Hello Everyone,
Last Week:  We had a very entertaining presentation by Charlie Burger, Chief of the Great Barrington Fire Department.
Crissey Farm:  For those members who pay for their lunch with a check,  Gary has asked that checks be made payable to “The Brewery,” rather than to Crissey Farm.
Breaking Bread:  As reported last week, Rotary's date for Breaking Bread is March 10th.  Oskar Hallig is leading this one up and doing the main dish.  Jessica Spear Holmes has prepared a Sign Up Genius for the dinner.  The link is as follows:    Our next date will be May 5th.  If you are able to lead the team for that date, please contact Oskar at  As soon as we get the updated schedule for the entire year, I will share that information with the Club.
Rotary After Hours:  Jess Krupski is organizing a social hour for the Club on Thursday, March 16th at Castle Street.  We hope you can stop by for a drink and a few laughs.
People’s Pantry:  Peanut Butter - We are down to 6 cards.  Increase your odds of winning, and bring some peanut butter to the meeting!
From the Foundation:  
ROTARY DIRECT TESTIMONIAL FROM TERRY ZIEGLER IN 2014 “I received my Gift Acknowledgement from Rotary International today recognizing the contributions I made on a credit card through Rotary Direct in 2013.  This is one more reason to give by Rotary Direct - you get one Gift Statement at the end of the year rather than each time you mail a check.  That's in addition to the fact that it's automatic, it's easy - no checks to mail, no stamp cost (going up soon), and the fact that Rotary has determined that it costs them less to process contributions from credit cards than checks due to the low rate they pay, the rebate they receive from Visa ($ millions currently going to PolioPlus) and the labor required to process large numbers of checks.”
Bulletin for February 3, 2016 Susan Smith 2016-02-02 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for November 18, 2015 Susan Smith 2015-11-17 00:00:00Z 0
Memory of a Presentation John Benedict 2015-09-22 00:00:00Z 0
Bulletin for August 19, 2015 Susan Smith 2015-08-18 00:00:00Z 0
District Governor Kyong Wilson Elizabeth Hamilton 2015-08-05 00:00:00Z 0
Truck Day 2015! Susan Smith 2015-05-20 00:00:00Z 0
YEX Ski Weekend 2015 John Benedict 2015-01-28 00:00:00Z 0
Great Barrington Rotary Scarves in South Tanzania! Elizabeth Hamilton 2014-03-05 00:00:00Z 0