Open Meeting with Welcoming Remarks - President Pam Cohen
  • Dick Myren offered the invocation.
  • Ted Williams suggested members and guests Google The Star Spangled Banner and read the words to the other verses - especially the third verse.  He also suggested that when reciting the pledge, a comma not be placed between "One nation" and "under God" before leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Pam thanked Steve Ross for serving as Greeter welcoming everyone as they arrived for the meeting.
Introduction of Guests
  • Dave Brauchler introduced Kassandra and Natlie as the Emporer and Vice Emporer of the Westwood High School Interact Club.  They came to the meeting with cookies, which they were exchanging for donations to support the Africa trip both girls will be participating in this coming summer.
  • Kassandra provided some information.  Interact Clubs throughout the District collect mobility devices to be placed in containers and shipped to Africa as well as to Mexico.  The Ambassadors selected to go to Africa and Mexico will have the opportunity to deliver the devices to individuals needing them.  Two other Westwood High School Interact Club members have been selected to go on the C4A mission to Mexico.
  • Chuck Flint introduced his guests - visiting Rotarian Konrad Milde and his wife, Idilko Milde.  Chuck and Konrad are both pilots.  They met through a mutual friend, Mike Wiggins.  Mike is also a Rotarian from Canada. 
  • Konrad shared a little information.  He is Youth Exchange Chairman in his country.  He is originally from Switzerland.  He now lives in Dubai.  He and Idilko were married last year.  His Dubai club has 65 members.  They sponsor 2 Interact Clubs, and 6 Rotaract Clubs.
  • Jay Stuckey briefly introduced Tim Holland, who would be presenting the program.
  • Pai Bethea and Debbie Koeneman were attending via Zoom
  • Kassandra provided some information about having been selected to be a C4A Ambassador.  Each Ambassador is required to raise $750 to cover some of their trip expenses.  In addition, they have to get all immunizations required for the trip and get their passports.  
  • Colleen Coons added some additional information about the C4A trips.  For the students going to Africa, their airfare, some of their living expenses, shipping costs for the collected mobility devices.  The total cost for each mission to Africa runs $50,000 to $60,000.  Costs are a bit less for the mission to Mexico.
  • Allan Cady made a $100 donation, challenging others to do the same - to the extent that they could afford to do so.
  • President Pam announced that everything collected during Happy Bucks at the meeting would be designated for the C4A Interact Mobility Device Missions.
Ace of Clubs Raffle - Chuck Flint
Chuck explained that there were two pots available to be won.  The small pot of $40 would automatically be won by the holder of the stub of the ticket drawn.  They would also win the opportunity to try to draw the Ace of Clubs from the cards remaining in the deck.  Should they be so lucky, they would also win the large pot which is up to $210.00.  Chuck asked his guest Idilko Milde to draw the winning ticket, the stub of which was held by Shelly Romine.  When Shelly tried to draw the Ace of Clubs, she instead drew the Four of Hearts.
Happy Bucks - Ron Thompson
  • Before Ron started around the room with the bucket, he put in $40, and Shelly Romine did the same with the $40 she had just won.  Polly Cady put in $1.  She was happy to have received an email from Anita Kegler explaining why we'd not seen her recently.  Anita has been busy traveling back and forth to Albuquerque to help her mother who lives there.  She hopes to be able to get back to attending our meetings soon.  Allan Cady had some good things to say about a movie for which they had the privilege to attend the opening.  The name of the movie is "Jesus Revolution."  Allan understands it is based on a true story, and said it was very well done.
  • John Pennypacker was happy to have booked his travel for his round-the-world trip following the RI Convention ibn Australia.  
  • Colleen Coons was happy to have the opportunity to go with Pam to visit the McKinney-'Vento department in the Mesa Public Schools.  The goal of the McKinney Vento Act is to enable homeless youth to graduate.  They learned 950 families in the Mesa school system qualify as "homeless."
  • Warren Williamson, who had attended the last couple of meetings via Zoom, said he was happy to be alive.  He also reported their washing machine was out.  He was thankful to have an industrious wife who made it possible for him to be wearing clean underwear.
  • Ed Koeneman made a $50 C4A pledge for Debbie Koeneman.
  • Pam Cohen contributed and thanked hte Ambassadors for attending our meeting.
  • Jim McGown  contributed.  He was happy to pick up food for a food bank.  He picked up enough to fill his truck.  The food bank was operated by St. Ann's Catholic Charity work operating out of their facility on Elliot Rd.
  • Dick Myren contributed his customary $2 celebrating the fact that he and honorary member Rod Daniels are both associated with the Ace of Clubs.  He went on to pledge $100 to celebrate his 87th birthday coming up on March 12.  He spoke with Rod recently.  He is doing much better.  They removed 5 gallons of water from his system.
  • John Benedict and Jack Rosenberg emptied their wallets to contribute a combined total of $16.
  • Colleen Coons pledged $100 for C4A with the understanding we could bill her, but Dan has to pay.
  • Polo Santiago contributed $10.
Announcements - President Pam
Pam said that with PDG John Pennypacker's round-the-world trip, he would be gone nearly two months.  She asked for others to fill the gap and step up to arrive early for each meeting to put up the banners, and stay following the meetings to take them down and put them away.
She also reminded members that she had a box of children's books she wants to donate to Phoenix Children's hospital, but wanted members to write encouraging notes to the children who would be recipients of the books during their hospital visits.  She said if some members want to take a few and bring them back next week, it would be fine.
She reminded members to get photos to Ed for the 50th Aniversary Celebration slide show..  The photos can be photos taken in 1973 or photos of memorable Rotary occasions since that time.
If members still want to donate for the New Life Center, they need to get in touch with Dave Brauchler or Don LaBarge if they need help getting them to the Mesa Sunrise meeting Wednesday, March 15. 
To add some momentum to the sponsor campaign, Colleen (and possibly some others) will bring in desserts for tables to bid on at our March 16 meeting.  Members should be seated with their Sponsor Program teams and bid together to try to get the dessert they want.  Members should know by the time they arrive for the meeting whose team they are on.
Program - Tim Holland - Solely for Kids Shoe Drive Charity for Children
Jay Stuckey introduced the speaker, Tim Holland, who was standing in for the scheduled speaker, Tim's wife Tawnya.  Tim said that we were getting the short end of the deal as she is much more fun to listen to than he is, but he would give it his best shot.
Solely for Kids is a fairly young 501(c)(3). The idea was born a few years ago when they participated in a Christmas toy drive for impoverished children in Mexico in a community near the border.  They found that many of the children receiving toys had no shoes.  No shoes is a serious problem, but it creates a bigger concern.  Children cannot attend school if they are not wearing shoes.  They were determined to collect shoes and hygiene and school supplies and go back.   18 months ago, they received their 501(c)(3) status. 
They tried to get advance information about end of season shoe clearance pricing and were told that was not possible.  Tawnya is apparently very resourceful.  She contacted WalMart's corporate headquarters in Arkansas and got more favorable information.
They have no overhead.  All donations received are used to purchase shoes and socks.  There are no employees, no administrative costs, no money for travel, and no donated funds are spent on the volunteer shirts.
Collecting the shoes had many logistical challenges.
  • They needed boys shoes and girls shoes in sizes baby-children's 13 and adult male and female sizes 1-10.
  • All of the stuffing and tags had to be removed.  There would be no ability to deal with that much trash at the eventual delivery site.
  • The shoes had to be sorted by gender and size.
  • To streamline processing at the delivery site, the sorted shoes were put into labeled bins in trailers to be taken to the border.
  • The sorting and packaging process really took over a good part of their neighborhood for several hours.
  • Getting across the border with that much "merchandise" would be a challenge.  They were able to get some help from Mexican officials.
  • Thousands were in line to receive the shoes.  They arranged to have chairs available so that recipients could be sized and given tickets.  
  • Parking was challenging.
  • There were five armed police officers at the site.  There were no incidents that required their presence, but that may be a benefit of their presence.
  • Many adult volunteers were utilized on both sides of the border.
  • The mayor showed up and made a speech.  It was speculated he may have taken credit for it - and he had been of some help with getting them through the border.
  • Kids had already arrived and started forming lines before they arrived with the shoes
  • Each child received a pair of shoes, a pair of socks and a sticker to wear showing the size they needed.
  • One little girl was so excited, she was still flapping her arms excitedly as she walked away.
  • They did not run out of shoes, but they did run out of some sizes, which was heartbreaking for those few.
  • It's fairly short work in Mexico.  They were only there for a day.  They handled 1,000 kids per hour.
  • On this side of the border, volunteers are needed for sorting, packing and labeling and for the trip to deliver.
CLICK HERE to see the photos and slides used in the presentation.  The QR codes below can take you to PayPal or Venmo donation sites: