The Northern Neck Rotary Club, a long-time supporter of local charities and programs through its CAPINNÉ program, has extended its reach into international service. With more than 1.2 million members of over 33,000 clubs in 200 countries world wide Rotary International truly fits the definition of international.
In recent years the Northern Neck Rotary Club participated in the international program through the Rotary Foundation on a limited basis, preferring to focus its efforts on supporting the immediate area. Last December the club, lead by International Service Director, Rick Varnier, decided to expand reach to international needs. Through a highly successful Christmas tree sale the club raised funds specifically to use outside the area and in fact the country.
A critical need was identified for potable water in the small village with 5,000 residents of Rizal in the Philippines. A liaison was established with the Calboyog Rotary Club through a former fellow employee of Northern Neck Rotarian Dick Slember. It was learned that the local water supply was provided by a dug well which was merely a concrete pipe resting at ground level. The well had been fouled by animal waste and perhaps carcass to the extent that the water was unfit for any use and the well un-recoverable. A concrete tank served as a standpipe and distribution point.
The Calbayog club obtained a Rotary District 3860 (in the Philippines) grant to address the situation; however, the amount was less than was needed to complete a proper deep well. The Northern Neck club provided funds to make up the shortfall. As a result, a deep well has been completed, distribution lines run and the concrete tank repaired to provide the much needed water. While the water has yet to be approved for human consumption, it is available for washing clothes, dishes, and people.
The Northern Neck Rotary Club also joined the Kilmarnock, Irvington, White Stone (KIWS) Rotary Club in assisting the Sun City, Arizona Rotary Club to provide funding for a much needed kitchen at the Open Arms Home for Children in South Africa. A great need for programs to care for the thousands of orphans exists in Africa due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Bill Ehlman, a KIWS member who snow birds in Sun City, brought the need to the attention of the Northern Neck Club. Ehlman explained that Rotarian Bob Solis was so moved during a trip to South Africa that he and his wife started the Open Arms Home with personal funds and has committed himself to making a difference.
Through the participation of the two local clubs, the Sun City Club as well as other Rotary Clubs in the US and their Districts funds were provided to assist in building and equipping the new kitchen.
Polio Plus is a program conducted by Rotary International and the World Health Foundation to eradicate Polio in the world. This ambitious goal is close with very few cases being reported in recent years. The Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation has made contributions to the effort in excess of $200 Million. The world-at-large is very aware that with international travel none of the world’s population is truly safe until there is no more Polio anywhere on Earth. Funds from the Christmas tree sale were also used to provide funds for this Rotary International project.