RCSS COORDINATES PROJECT TO ADDRESS FOOD INSECURITY IN NORTH FULTON. Responding to DG Kirk's email about the USDA Food Box Program, we began the process of requesting a truck delivery of 1100 boxes to one location in Sandy Springs that would serve as a distribution point for multiple food pantries in North Fulton. We contacted 4 adjacent Rotary clubs In April asking them to contact pantries and non profits in their communities that needed the boxes. The program was cancelled in April but with perseverance we were able to get a truck when it reopened in May. On May 20, from 7-10:30 am 24 volunteers from Dunwoody, Roswell & Sandy Springs as well as volunteers from the pantries came together at the loading dock at the Solidarity Sandy Springs food pantry. We unloaded 1,100 20 lb.+ USDA food boxes from a semi and reloaded them into 10 different vehicles for transport to food pantries and people in need in Acworth, Cumming, Dunwoody, Roswell & Sandy Springs. Club distribution: Alpharetta, 150 boxes, 1 pantry; Dunwoody, 1 pantry, 150 boxes; Roswell, 550 boxes to 9 non profits; Sandy Springs, 350 boxes to 3 pantries. It was a fun day for Rotarians. Total of 70 volunteer hours on the morning of 5/20 plus 10 Roswell volunteers in the afternoon. The boxes were free including transport. Only club costs were for pickup vehicles' fuel. Assuming 1 box of food could serve 5 people est. total beneficiaries among all clubs would be 5500. Est. cost of $40/box would be in kind contribution of $44k.
Community Outreach & Media Event. Club members met with the Community Assistance Center executive director and staff to discuss the operation & impact to needy persons in Sandy Springs for food & services provided by CAC. Local media was invited and it was promoted on club FB page & D6900. Check for $1315 was presented which is what the club raised participating in RC Alpharetta's Donation Derby. Support of CAC is a valued and sustainable worthwhile repetitive service project.
Club leaders met with Sally Platt of the Marietta Metro club to determine and prioritize the service projects best suited for our Sandy Springs community. We conducted a survey of our members and also interviewed city & community leaders for input. As we could no longer do several of our typical projects due to COVID this exercise resulted in our selecting seven new projects which gave us a total of 13 we hope to complete by year end.
RCSS has committed to contribute $1.5k in two Global Grants:
1. $1,000 to RC North Fulton's GG in central Africa. This is a continuing project to further economic development in a small central African country. Current project is to provide vocational training in welding. Club will remit when requested by RC North Fulton.
On June 22, 2020 Dr. Mike Looney, Fulton County Schools Superintendent, was our guest speaker. A big challenge this school year is achieving distance learning during the Covid crisis. He challenged the club to obtain hotspots for families who could not afford internet service. RCSS members met with school officials and determined a great need existed at Sandy Springs Middle School. With Sandy Springs schools closed we were not able to do our planned school literacy project with Word Builders. We redirected our $1500 district grant for that project to enable the purchase of 8 Hotspot devices. These will now allow eight families to receive service for two years Each hotspot can allow six devices to connect to the internet which can provide distance learning for up to 48 students at one time. Over two years many additional families could benefit. Say the devices turn over 3 times per year as families lose then later obtain their own internet service allowing another family to then use the hotspot. Potentially over the two year service period you could have as many as 300 students receiving the benefit of distance learning.
The club maintains a enclosed trailer at the Sandy Springs Recycling Center for donations of durable medical equipment (wheelchairs, walkers etc.). When full we haul it to FODAC (Friends of Disabled Adults and Children) in Stone Mountain. This non profit, refurbishes the items and sells them at minimal cost to those in need. This is an ongoing project of the club which began about 5 years ago. This year we grew the program by bringing the trailer around to local senior living communities to pick up the items. So far this year we have made several deliveries to FODAC. On April 24 at Leadership Sandy Springs Recycle event at City Springs SS Rotary members and the trailer will be there as volunteers. This is sustainable valuable service project for the community.
The club has partnered with the city of Sandy Springs to sponsor the purchase of 4 metal benches that were installed in the new Crooked Creek park in east Sandy Springs. A metal plaque is being erected in April recognizing the contribution of the club and sponsorship of the benches in honor of the club's four past district governors. Local media are to be invited to a dedication event at the park with city officials in late April or May to recognize the club and promote usage of the park which connects to the Chattahoochee river trail system. The city will recognize the club's contribution in all their media.
Our city’s First Responders ask for a fair wage and the opportunity to serve, yet their level of service has the potential to far exceed normal expectations of “Service Above Self.” Rotary International has now developed a method for Rotary Clubs to honor those community heroes who share our creed of “Service Above Self” within their professions. We will seek input from the Sandy Springs community through May for nominations with public service announcements in the local mainstream media, social media and the city's website/media. Nominees must be active members of the Sandy Springs Police or Fire Department (Police Officer, Firefighter/AEMT or Paramedic), who the nominator feels have gone over and above the normal call of duty in the last 18 months. There will be three Rotary awards, one in each service category (Police, Firefighter, EMT/Paramedic). The selection criteria is not intended to recognize First Responders for merely “doing a good job,” or responding to a call. We want to recognize those who actually have provided extraordinary service to assist our residents and business owners and/or protect property, or who have contributed significantly to the public safety profession over the last year and a half as we have dealt with COVID, civil unrest and other emergency situations. Based on public input the Rotary club will select the Honorees who will be recognized at a noon luncheon meeting in June or July at the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs. Immediate family members of the Honorees, their nominators, superior officers and city officials will also be invited. This program has been approved by SSPD Chief Ken DeSimone and SSFD Chief Keith Sanders (who are also members of SS Rotary). Depending on the level of public input this could become a annual sustainable service project.
Following a proposal by the club the City of Sandy Springs has approved a program beginning in April 2021 to have collection boxes located in two fire stations for the public to bring in used prescriptions or other meds/schedule 1 drugs/banned substances as well as used needles/syringes during business hours. The contents will be picked up and properly disposed of by a approved contractor (Stericycle). The Rotary club is funding the entire cost of the program which initially will be for one year. Media coverage to begin in April and the program and RCSS will be highlighted in the City's websites and public notices. This is a valuable service project for the community. Many people just flush drugs down the drain and throw exposed needles in the trash. Most drug stores allow collection of used meds but not needles. Proper disposal of these items protects trash collectors from injury and eliminates damage to river wildlife. Sustainability of this project depends on the community's usage of the boxes and the annual cost. A $3,000 District Community Grant is initially funding this project.
Every year the Sandy Springs Education Force puts on a STEAM showcase at North Springs High School. The public is invited and the showcase creates opportunities for students to engage with exhibitors focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts & math. It was virtual this year. RCSS was a sponsor in the event held March 17 to benefit the students and parents of North Springs High School and show how vaccines have been used effectively to almost eradicate a global virus. The club donated $1k as a sponsor and produced a 22 min. video which compiled and summarized the history of polio and RI's global eradication efforts since 1979 using RI End Polio & TRF branding with portions of RI & other polio videos. On 3/17 the club also held 4 hours of zoom meetings with students and others to answer questions about polio and Rotary. The video is available below and via online links at SSEF, RCSS websites and FB pages. RCSS annually contributes to the support of SSEF educational programs. In the past we did not exhibit at the showcase but in the future the club can maintain this as a sustainable project by exhibiting other Rotary projects such as the technology of water purification and examples of Rotarians providing clean water in underserved communities. Given the number of attendees the showcase generates good publicity & exposure.