The Mt. Laurel Rotary Club hasn’t let a pandemic get in the way of its mission to deliver service above self.
When newly elected president Darleen Blesi took office July 1, she knew living in challenging and unprecedented times made the club’s work even more important. And while brainstorming ways to help, Blesi credits longtime Rotarian Jarry Jones for some inspired problem-solving.
“It’s been challenging during COVID-19 to really figure out what we’re going to do to volunteer, but Jarry Jones came up with the idea of a food drive,” Blesi said. “It’s one of the few ways you can volunteer and still be socially distanced.”
Mt. Laurel Rotary Club held its first of three food drives Aug. 8 at Ramblewood Country Club, an effort that pleased Blesi.
“It was well over 60 bags of food,” she noted. “Ramblewood is a great location for people to drive up and drop their food off and be able to socially distance.”
Once food bags were sorted, Rotary Club members packed up and delivered the donations to the food pantry at Jacob’s Chapel.
“They have a small food pantry with some supplies, but they were dwindling,” Blesi explained.
And with the pandemic causing an uptick in families and households who are suddenly food insecure in ways they’ve never been before, Blesi said she and the rest of the “small club” members felt it was their obligation to help restock the shelves for their neighbors in need.
“Where else are people going to go?” she asked. “People right now are hurting, they’re financially struggling and some people are paying their bills so they can’t afford to put food on the table. They need their community resources.”
Blesi believes there will always be plenty of people ready to help in difficult times.
“Even when a situation has been as challenging as it has been with COVID, I think people still want to do something and it’s easy to donate food,” she said.
The Rotarians will hold their next two food drives at Ramblewood from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Aug. 22 and Sep. 26. They request non-perishable food and household supplies that will benefit the food pantry at Jacob’s Chapel. The pantry is open every Wednesday from 6:30 to 7 p.m.
Email Blesi at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about either the food drive or joining Mt. Laurel Rotary Club, which currently meets on Zoom every Wednesday.