Local clubs make holiday difference
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By Irene Hilsendager  December 20, 2013 12:00 am

The Rotary Clubs of Rohnert Park-Cotati and Rancho Cotati, along with the Rancho Adobe Fire District, Rotaract Club of Southern Sonoma County, SSU Rotaract, Tech High Interact and community volunteers spent Saturday at the Rohnert Park Senior Center preparing for and helping coordinate a day of wrapping presents for underprivileged children.

Each year, hundreds of toys and gifts are collected and distributed to families in the Rohnert Park, Cotati and Penngrove areas. Over the years, the holiday gift and toy drive has grown both in popularity and in partnership with others. This is community support in the form of donated gifts and cash that enables the program to thrive and help families in need.

The holidays provide the ideal backdrop for showcasing how much Rotary means to the communities and those less fortunate. Most people do not see or feel what goes on in the lives of families who live at or near the poverty level. The Rotary Clubs of Rohnert Park-Cotati and its partners work hard to change these families’ lives and bring joy to the faces of the children in the communities.

About 13 years ago, the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati instituted a holiday gift program designed to serve the needs of disadvantaged families whose financial status severely limited their ability to provide gifts to the children during the season of joy. 

This program’s support base continues to grow each year as the club reaches out into the community to form partnerships with individuals, businesses, group associations, families, local governments and the Interact Clubs. 

Anytime throughout the year, businesses may contact the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati to assist in providing funds and partner to make a better Christmas season for the underprivileged.

The delivery of the gifts will take place Saturday, Dec. 21, starting at the RP Senior Center to fill up the trucks, vans and cars along with a fire engine to lead the way. Some Rotarians will put on Santa suits and, along with their elf helpers, will approach the homes that were selected and everybody will see the joy on the children’s faces and also witness a wide range of emotions of the parents.  

Many a volunteer has had to wipe tears away from their faces when seeing the emotions of a small child seeing Santa and holding their little hands out to receive a gift.

The number of requests usually grows larger each year, but as always, the Rotary Club members along with their partners are hard at work to make a difference in the lives of these disadvantaged families.

If you would like to give back to your community and enjoy the day while doing it, join the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati on Tuesday mornings for their weekly meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel at 7 a.m. Come and observe what a difference the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati has made and will continue to do so in the community.

‘Twas two weekends before Christmas and all around the town, the Rotary Club of Rohnert Park-Cotati and their helpers (all volunteers) were doing nothing but wrapping gifts and having a good time.’

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