Mullica Hill Rotary Club strives to serve community

Newly elected president Denise Racano hopes to increase membership, give back to community during her one-year term

As the newly elected president of the Mullica Hill Rotary Club, Denise Racano is looking to expand the organization’s membership through improved social networking and outreach programs, while continuing to provide numerous annual community service projects to Harrison Township and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Two years ago, Racano, a pharmacist by trade, purchased the local Philly Pretzel Factory as a way of getting involved in the community. Having sponsored Clearview Regional High School sports teams, as well as serving as a member in various groups such as the Economic Development Council, United Way of Gloucester County Women United and acting as an animal advocate who has worked with local rescues, Racano was looking to do even more last year when she joined the Mullica Hill Rotary Club, the local branch of a global service organization. After a year of organizing events and service projects, such as a paint night and a fundraiser at her business, members of the club voted Racano as president for the 2017–18 year, effective July 1.

“I’m really happy to be president,” Racano said. “If I didn’t have to work I would do this full time. The mission of service and to make it beneficial to everyone is a great cause.”

According to Racano, at the time of her election the club was experiencing a transition period and had a mere 10 members. Since then, it has grown to 15 and she hopes it will continue to grow as Racano implements increased social media use and outreach programs to spread the word of what Rotary is all about.

Mullica Hill Rotary Club President Denise Racano

“The Rotary is a service above self organization,” Racano said. “The most important goal right now is to build membership and develop projects so we can acquire funds to give back out to the community.”

Racano succeeds former president Bud Verfaille, who organized a trip to Florida to assist residents in removing fallen trees, which are blocking entrance or restricting passage to their homes, caused by Hurricane Irma. The initiative, which was scheduled for departure on Sunday, Sept. 17, partnered with Florida Rotary Clubs, to ensure the service helped neighborhoods in great need, and the use of donations and volunteer work were most effective.

The Rotary’s annual community service projects include distributing turkeys to families in need during Thanksgiving, as well as gift donations, partnered with the local food pantry Your Place at the Table during Christmas. More recently, the club arranged a bus trip to New York City for the annual Feast of San Gennaro on Sept. 16. On Oct. 6, the Rotary will be partnering with the local American Legion Post 452 to host a Celebrity Bartender Night fundraising event. Members of the Mullica Hill Rotary Club will be serving patrons at 6:30 p.m., facilitating tips to benefit future service projects for the community. The event, held at the American Legion, is open to the public and free to attend.

Also, residents can find the Rotary Club at the upcoming Lights on Main festivities on Nov. 25, where it will have a tent set up to provide more information on who they are, and what their mission is. As well, Racano said the club is planning to create a new Taste of Mullica Hill event, slated for the spring, where residents and the community will have a chance to sample food, drinks and wine from local businesses and farms.

Those interested in learning more about the Mullica Hill Rotary Club should visit www.mullicahillrotary.org, or stop by one of its meetings, held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at Harrison House Diner.