Rotary Retools to Serve in the Time of Coronavirus

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Summer delivery at Atfalati Park. Photos courtesy of Diane Bonica.

The Tualatin Rotary Club serves our community in many ways.  When the coronavirus hit, members were anxious to be of service. With weekly meetings and events canceled it seemed like our contributions might need to be individual and not collective. And then the call came. The Tigard-Tualatin School District needed books to give students. Books on Wheels had a new mission.

Thanks to financial support from the Rotary Club, Books on Wheels has been giving books to students every summer. The books are distributed at free lunch sites and children and families select stories to add to their home libraries. The books are gifts. They do not need to be returned.

Books are expensive! Most volumes cost around ten dollars. Finding a supply of books that could be readily available and affordable to the school district seemed nearly impossible.

Books sorted for emergency deliveries.

Books on Wheels delivers in the summer and collects books from September through May. Founded over ten years ago, the book collection process has been successful. There have been school drives. Individual community members have donated. Some businesses have also contributed. The Tualatin Rotary Club has supplied funds to purchase new books that children really want to read. Fortunately, the Rotary books were available when this coronavirus need arose.

Packed with Pride is a new organization that is spearheading the effort to get emergency food and books to our school children. In coordination with the school board, the school foundation, the student union and the teachers’ union, a movement is underway to support families in need during this time of extended school closure.

Within a two day period, from the first request for help, Books on Wheels was there. Over 1500 books were packed and delivered to Tigard High School. Rotary got the books ready and members of the teacher’s union provided the muscle and transportation. To make book delivery easy, every book was sorted by grade level. Sanitation was also a concern. Fortunately, all the Books on Wheels volumes had not been touched by anyone in months. They were perfect for the need!

Rotary is no stranger to the fight against disease. The entire International organization has been on the front line to eradicate the poliovirus from the earth. Since 1985, Rotary has worked with the WHO and the Gates Foundation to vaccinate the children of the world. If we can get to zero new cases for three years in a row—the disease will be eliminated. Polio has proven to be a tough enemy. Outbreaks around the globe have decreased significantly and now only three regions still show signs of the disease. A virus that infected over 200,000 children a year has been reduced to less than 100. Rotary is still on a mission to wipe out this disease.  Efforts to vaccinate every child is a worldwide campaign.

In our community and country, this is a time of many unknowns. One thing that you can count on is the willingness of people to help. One organization that has been ready is your Tualatin Rotary Club.