The Trumansburg Rotary Club recently announced the distribution of three community grants to local organizations. 

The Ulysses Philomathic Library received a $1,000 grant to aid in free book distribution tied to their Summer Reading Program. The program, which is affected this year by the COVID-19 virus’ restrictions, will encourage children to build their home libraries and to develop their love of reading and books. The grant application was made by Ksana Broadwell, Library Director.

Stay Wild Rescue and Rehabilitation, under the direction of Jane George, received a $1,000 grant to expand wild animal and cat rescue operations to facilitate inclusion of more student volunteers. George works with high school students, teaching them to care for injured and abandoned animals, and helping them receive community service credit and attain Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife rehabilitation certification, while learning employment and life skills.

With new precautions being taken due to COVID-19, George is looking to expand her facilities in part so there is more room and an adequate place where students can wash their hands, said Trumansburg Rotary Club President Peggy Haine. 

“It’s such a good project, and we wanted her to get the funding she needed to set things up so she could in fact teach,” Haine said, adding that George also has an interest in including youth with special needs. 

 The Lodi Whittier Library received $890 for their StoryWalk project and their summer reading program. StoryWalk places each page of an oversized picture book along a walking trail, available whether the library is open or not. It can be engaged in while social distancing and does not require any touching or exchange of materials, and is something families can participate in together. 

Funding was also awarded to add children’s books to the library’s collection, and to purchase ice cream gift certificates from a local vendor to use as a celebration for participation in this year’s Summer Reading  Program. The applicant was Nora Snyder, Children and Youth Program Coordinator.

 Trumansburg Rotary Club grants are awarded annually, supporting self-sustaining community activities including local school learning projects (focused on the Trumansburg, South Seneca, Newfield, and Enfield schools), and activities in support of senior citizens, the arts and local libraries in those communities.

Kathleen Overbaugh, head of the Trumansburg Rotary Club’s grant committee, said the Rotary has been giving out the grants for the past four years. 

Funds are raised through various efforts throughout the year, but this year in particular the club is reliant on its popular chicken barbecues to bring in the fundraising dollars. 

Their first barbecue of the year, which took place in June, was very successful; they sold out in under an hour, Overbaugh said. “That was a beautiful day, and everyone was out with their masks,” she said. “We said, ‘No masks, no service.’ It worked out well.” 

The drive-through system of handing out orders was efficient, and there was plenty of room for cars to line up thanks to the spacious parking lot of Atlas Bowl. It inspired the club to continue with many more barbecues through the summer and autumn months. “We will have as many [barbecues] as we can fit in and finish up on Election Day,” Overbaugh said.

The club voted July 2 to hold Rotary Chicken Barbecues July 25, Aug. 15, Sept. 5 and 26 and Oct. 15. They are all Saturdays, and the dinners are ready at 11 a.m. or a little before.

The Rotary’s fundraising projects and administering of grants allows the club to interact with the community. “It helps keep our club active and fresh,” Overbaugh said.

The Rotary hopes their outreach will not go unnoticed. “We need more members,” Haine said. “We have so many things to do.” 

Undaunted by the challenges caused by COVID-19, the group meets remotely or meets at the Trumansburg Fairgrounds, where they can observe social distancing, weather permitting. 

“It’s an organization for people who want to do good things in the community and the world,” Haine said. “And we have a lot of fun.” 

The application for future grants and additional background information are available to download from the club’s website: clubrunner.ca/trumansburg. The next deadline is May 31, 2021.

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