By Amy Filippone, Dept. of Parks & Recreation
The Moorestown Parks and Recreation Department has partnered with the Moorestown Rotary Clubs for many years. They have donated funds to support programming, equipment and sweat equity. Their efforts make a tremendous difference in the vibrancy of the town.
The Lunch Rotary is eligible for a district grant each year. Under last year’s president, Paul Canton, a swing set was donated to the Recreation Department’s rebuilding of the Strawbridge Lake playground.
“I didn’t want the year to go by without applying for our district grant, so we applied and were awarded the full $2,500 again,” said current president, Wendy Holden.
Holden said they reach out to the community and see what’s needed.
“That money is there for us to match so why not make the most of it,” Holden said. “It just so happens the last couple of years it’s gone to the Department of Parks and Rec. We knew they were trying to rebuild the playground and also Strawbridge Lake Committee was doing a lot of upgrades to Strawbridge Lake so we thought that would be a good place to use the grant.”
This year, the grant will be used to purchase benches for Strawbridge Lake. The original plan was for four benches but a fifth was added to honor someone very dear to the Moorestown Rotary Club.
“This year the township declared a Mary Wells Day, and they’re going to be planting a tree in her honor,” Holden said. “We wanted a bench to go along with it. She was a long-standing member of Rotary and was one of the first women accepted into the Rotary Club. She was a lovely, lovely person who did a lot for the community.”
Mary Wells passed away in 2019. She served as the first female Rotary Club President in 2004 and was the first woman elected to the Moorestown Township Council in 1974. In 1967, Wells founded the Family Services of Burlington (now known as Oaks Integrated), one of the first mental health providers in the county. Under Wells’ leadership the organization became one of the most well-known and influential nonprofits in the state, assisting thousands of people.
The Rotary Lunch club has also been a partner in the Recreation Department’s “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” program, which provides financial support, shopping services and help with other essential needs as they arise during the pandemic.
“Now some of the money raised is going to be used to help with education programs,” Holden said. “We felt that there are kids who are really struggling right now, especially with parents working different schedules. As Rotarians we don’t have first hand knowledge of who needs what at school but by working with the Rec. Department, we can make sure the money goes to those who really need it.”
The Parks and Recreation Department is grateful for the Rotary’s generosity and willingness to jump in when needed.
“I think it’s great that we can partner with other community organizations because it enables us to do more good in the community and help people here,” Holden said. “That’s the beauty of Rotary. There’s a lot of depth in it. With many hands, you can do a lot of work.”
For more information and to donate to the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund, please visit: https://www.givesignup.org/DonationWebsite/MoorestownCOVIDHelp