Happenings

Meeting Highlights 3/26/21

The Rotary Club meeting this morning featured guest speaker Barrett T. Young, Chief Executive Officer of the Rescue Mission of Trenton, a non-profit organization open 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week, 365 days-a-year – feeding those who are hungry, housing the homeless and providing opportunities for those in need.
 
Barrett told us that a staff of 100 at The Mission operate a “one-stop-shop for the homeless, addicted and mentally ill.” He said two achievements in the past year he’s most proud of are that basic operations never stopped – even during the COVID “lock-down” – and that their clients were among the first in the country to receive the J&J vaccine after it was approved.
 
For the past several years our club has donated “Winter Survival Kits” to The Mission, with last year’s donations helping stock a much needed “Warming Center” at their Carroll Street location.
 
For more information about how to support The Mission’s Shelter, Behavioral Health Center, Vocational Development and Supportive Housing programs and Thrift Store, visit https://rescuemissionoftrenton.org/.
 

Salvation Army Red Kettle Award

Today a few of us went down to Salvation Army to deliver food and blankets. While there, we were presented with a Red Kettle Award for the work our Club did to support Salvation Army.


Vern Applegate Community Service Award 2021

Award of the 2021 Vern Applegate Community Service Award, named for a late great member, highlighted our Rotary Club meeting this morning. Award recipient Brian Blakely was recognized for his “…tireless efforts to address food insecurity, offer hope to the homeless, and provide for those in need in Mercer County.” Clara’s Heart LLC, a non-profit founded by Brian and his mother Clara Sampson – herself a longtime community activist – received a $500 donation from our club’s foundation. For a video of the award presentation and remarks by Brian Blakely, visit https://rhrotary.org/rhrc-video-productions/.
 
Pictured in the group photo below, from left in front, are Clara Sampson, the Hon. Nina D. Melker, Commissioner & Vice-Chair, Mercer County Board of Commissioners, Rotarian JoAnne Bruno who nominated Brian, and Rotary Club award committee chair Kalpana Patel; from left in back are Brian Blakely, Rotary Club President Tom Damm, Rotarian Nev Greenough and Rotarian Scott Biondi. (Photos courtesy of Peggy Damm).
 
We were also pleased that Robbinsville High School Interact Club members Jillian Lehmann, Mackensie Firth, Hannah Tyler, Alyssa Brunetto and Sarina Khan attended the meeting with faculty advisor Rebeka Territo to give us an update about their community service projects. Rotary sanctioned Interact clubs bring together young people to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of “Service Above Self.”
 
In other club business, President Tom Damm announced a $500 donation to Be Kind to help sponsor a meal packaging event on April 22. There are a little over two weeks until the deadline of April 15 to submit scholarship applications; visit www.rhrotary.org/scholarships for information and the online application. Tickets are still available for our 12-drawing weekly Dollars for Scholars Raffle which starts April 6; email info@rhrotary.org for tickets. Save the date: Friday, April 30 is our Virtual Art Auction and Cinco de Mayo themed gift basket Silent Auction; visit www.rhrotary.org/art auction for information.

Meeting Highlights 3/19/21

   

The Rotary Club meeting guest speaker this morning was Paul McCormack, founder of Melissa’s Brigade. Paul, together with his children and group of committed friends, run Melissa’s Brigade, the Mercer County, NJ Chapter of Lisa’s Army, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides comfort to people battling cancer. The Brigade is named in honor of his wife, Melissa Beth Carp McCormack, who lost her battle with ovarian cancer in early November 2019 at the age of 50.

They give patients a Comfort Care Package of carefully selected items, including an inspirational card, personal care items, an Apple iPad or BEATs Headphones, iTunes gift card, journals, pens and other things to make the patient’s treatment as comfortable as possible. Recipients are nominated by doctors and nurses at The Cancer Center of RWJ University Hospital-Hamilton, the primary site Melissa’s Brigade supports.

To assist the group by contributing Package contents, helping fundraise and donating funds, visit www.lisasarmy.org and click on the Melissa’s Brigade button under the Partners menu.

We were pleased to host our March Students of the Month. Pictured are Alex Friedrich from Steinert High School and Ryan Smith from Robbinsville High School. Mariana Salama, representing Nottingham High School, also spoke to the club.

In other business, President Tom announced that we are stepping up to meet the “Diaper Challenge” from HomeFront to help them set a Guinness World Record by collecting 250,000 diapers and baby wipes for families in need. Visit our website www.rhrotary.org for drop-off sites and other information.

Also, he announced that Brian Blakely will be honored at next week’s meeting of the Rotary Club as recipient of the 2021 Vern Applegate Community Service Award.
 

 
 
 

Meeting Highlights 3/12/21

Our meeting of the Rotary Club today was a “Club Assembly,” with focus on fellowship, club business items and planning for upcoming events. We also inducted two new members, Derik Whittaker and Bill Boyles. Derik, pictured at front in a family photo, is the General Manager of Hampton Inn & Suites in Robbinsville. Bill gave us his “Classification Talk,” telling us about his former career in non-profit children’s services, his current position as a mortgage banker with the PenFed Credit Union, and his past service with the Rotary Club of Mt. Holly. Welcome to the club, Derik and Bill!
 
Tom Damm reported that our board approved donating $1,000 to Rotary’s “Polio Plus” campaign to finally eradicate polio in the world, and that the new Diversity and Equity Committee is developing ideas to increase the participation of women as club members and officers. Chris Reetz used a live, online demonstration to show us new features and menu options on the club’s website, www.rhrotary.org.
 
Please visit our Events page to indicate your interest in supporting our April 30 Virtual Art Auction and Cinco de Mayo themed Gift Basket Auction, and share it with your Friends. Friends of Rotary, an opportunity for sponsors to gain a year’s worth of publicity for a modest donation to our charitable foundation, is accepting pledges through the end of March. Rotary Scholarship applications are being accepted through April 15. 
 

Meeting Highlights 3/5/21

Our guest speaker this morning was Elizabeth Meyers, Editor of TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville, and a great friend of our club who helps us spread the word about our many events and accomplishments. She is also the publisher/editor of TAPinto Bordentown, and president of Meyers Messaging, LLC, her own PR firm. Elizabeth and publisher Steve Lenox were recently honored as Featured Franchisees for March for their work with TAPinto.
 
Elizabeth told us about the TAPinto state-wide network, how the Hamilton/Robbinsville version started, and the publishing challenges faced during the pandemic. A number of our Rotarians said how much they like regularly receiving local news via email or with an available smartphone app. For information about TAPinto, to contact Elizabeth and to subscribe to their news service, visit https://www.tapinto.net/towns/hamilton-slash-robbinsville/

In other club business, President Tom noted the following:

  • Our big fundraiser, a Virtual Art Auction and Cinco de Mayo themed gift basket auction, on Friday, April 30
  • The opportunity to join a growing list of “Friends of Rotary” continues with $250, $500 and $1,000 levels of sponsorships available
  • Tickets will continue to be offered for our Dollars for Scholars raffle until the first drawing on April 6
  • March 12 is the deadline to submit nominations for the club’s Vern Applegate Community Service Award
  • Scholarship applications are being accepted until April 15
 

Meeting Highlights 2/26/21

Our guest speaker this morning at the Rotary Club meeting was Uday Pilani, Assistant Governor of Rotary District 3150 and member of the Rotary Club of Lake District Moinabad, who introduced our Rotarians to a Rotary Global Grant project being developed in India. Rotary helps fund global grants for international projects that have measurable goals, are sustainable and based on community needs.
 
Rotarian Uday and his fellow club members surveyed needs in the state of Telangana and he noted that Sarvapuram Village, for example, has many needs, including school facilities, transportation, water supply and healthcare. A preliminary plan would involve engaging the community, building partnerships with various organizations, and then addressing health, education and social development, and diversifying the current agricultural economy.
 
If a Global Grant project develops, our club’s charitable foundation would join numerous Rotary districts and clubs world-wide in sponsoring the humanitarian efforts.
 
In other business, Club President Tom Damm presented Rotarian Sharon Lucidi with a Paul Harris Fellow pin, her fifth such recognition for contributions to The Rotary Foundation and our club’s many achievements

Rotarians Deliver Pajamas

 
 
Rotarians took advantage of today’s sunny weather to deliver 110 pairs of pajamas to Lauren and Mackenzie Multari, co-founders of Lala and Mimi’s Pajama Project. The pajamas were collected by Rotary Club members in celebration of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Community Day of Service.
 

Meeting Highlights 2/19/21

 
 
 
It was our great pleasure to welcome the Honorable Dan Benson as guest speaker at a meeting of the Rotary Club today. We also hosted our February Students of the Month: Evan Wille, Robbinsville High School; Evelyn Macias Pilco, Hamilton West High School; Mariam Daoud, Nottingham High School; and Heidi Martz, Steinert High School.
 
Assemblyman Benson (D-14 Mercer) first joined the New Jersey Assembly in 2011 and is serving his fourth term representing nine towns in Mercer and Middlesex Counties including Hamilton and Robbinsville. He currently serves as the Chair of the Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee and as a member of the Health and Budget Committees, in addition to being Deputy Conference Leader.
 
Asm. Benson first “pitched New Jersey” to the students, citing a large “brain drain” leading to young people leaving the state for school and not returning to work. He talked about ways the state can encourage development of affordable “work force housing;” how students returning here to work will enjoy our “highly livable area”; and job opportunities available. A law he sponsored, the “Restorative Justice in Education Pilot Program,” will offer mini-grants to schools for victim advocacy, personnel training, and to rethink student discipline. Then, he informed about ways the state is addressing hunger, including “Soup Kitchen 411” linking local restaurants with TASK and reducing food waste, addressing “food deserts” in areas of the state, and offering support to higher education students.
 

 

Meeting Highlights 2/12/21

 
 
Our meeting this morning was a “Club Assembly,” held periodically to allow members more time for fellowship, and to focus on club business. A special election and swearing-in ceremony was held to add Joe Bellina to our Board of Directors to help ensure a smooth transition when he begins his term as club president on July 1.
 
In a nod to President’s Weekend, we had a Club President’s Roundtable in which past presidents Greg Blair (94-’95), Edna Stout (’97-’98), Ray Nowak (‘08-‘09) and Janice Miller (’05-’06) recounted highlights from their year of service.
 
Finally, President Tom Damm detailed our ongoing projects:
– Pajama Drive for LaLa and Mimi’s Pajama Project through Feb. 14
– Dollars for Scholars Raffle to fund our scholarship program
– Nominations for the Vern Applegate Community Service Award
– Friends of Rotary fundraising campaign for our charitable foundation
– A “save-the-date” announcement for our Virtual Art Auction & Silent Auction on April 30
 
(Photo is Joe Bellina, at right, with past member “Chef” Al Pellegrino, cooking pasta for the club’s 2015 Pasta Fest fundraiser)
 

Meeting Highlights 2/5/21

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We’ll welcomed Rotary Past District Governor Dr. Julie Ann Juliano, M.D., who will told us about the near-eradication of one worldwide disease – polio – and the efforts to control another one – COVID.
 
Dr. Juliano, a member of the Rotary Club of Branchburg, has been a long-time champion of the District’s Polio Plus campaign.

 Meeting Highlights 1/29/21

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A large group of Rotary Club members and guests gathered on Zoom this morning for our weekly meeting.
 
Our guest speaker, Jennifer Amato, an award-winning reporter, editor, and veteran journalist, is the content coordinator for Our Robbinsville and Hamilton Square Neighbors magazines. Jen’s byline has appeared across numerous media platforms in the Central New Jersey market. She has experience in print, digital, and broadcast journalism and has held various roles including reporter, managing editor, and department director. Jen told us how the two magazines focus on positive news about local families and businesses. She is a great friend of the Rotary Club, frequently including news about our projects and events in the publications. To give Jen a lead on Hamilton Square and Robbinsville families to feature in her magazines, email her at jamato@bestversionmedia.com.
 
We also heard from Steve Goldberg, a Governor’s Aide to Rotary District 7475 Governor Ann Walko, and District Membership Chair. He informed us about ways to build club membership and public awareness about Rotary. Steve is a member and Past President (2017-18) of the Rotary Club of Fanwood-Scotch Plains, and a Paul Harris Fellow. If you have interest in joining our Rotary Club, send an email to membershipchair@rhrotary.org.

Meeting Highlights 1/22/21

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Our guest speaker this morning was Christina S. Harcar, Administrative Supervisor of Social Services with the Mercer County Board of Social Services, whose early service with the Board was working as a social worker, and later as an assistant admin supervisor. Chris has influenced the County’s Adult Assistance Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and its Rapid Rehousing model. She told us about special programs developed during the pandemic to address homelessness, and she detailed how her county agency interacts with NGOs like HomeFront and the Rescue Mission of Trenton.

 
We were pleased to also welcome our January Students of the Month who told us about their many achievements in high school, community service work they do, and future plans after graduation. Pictured are Isabel Cox, Robbinsville High School; Alyssa Clayton, Hamilton West High School; Hazel Cox, Nottingham High School; and Noelle Whitaker, Steinert High School. Also pictured is Wally Sawka, our Rotarian who introduced the students and suggested they visit www.rhrotary.org/scholarships for information about our 2021 Scholarship Program and to submit an application.
President Tom Damm noted our collection of pajamas until February 14 for LaLa & Mimi’s Pajama Project, and our Dollars for Scholars Raffle to fund the annual scholarships. For more information, visit www.rhrotary.org.

 Be Kind

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Over the past week members of Be Kind and Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton  organized three trips to Sandro’s Coat Rack  to deliver almost 200 coats 🧥, two dozen hats 🧢, 30 scarves 🧣, 22 pair of gloves 🧤, and two snowpants ❄️!! Thank you to all involved in donating to our drives and to the enthusiastic children who helped us hang these much needed winter survival items. #bekind #joyofgiving #kindness #ServiceAboveSelf #blessed


Club Assembly 1/15/21
Lala & Mimi’s Pajama Project and More!

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At the Rotary Club meeting this morning, we were pleased to welcome back Lauren Multari and Mackensie Multari from LaLa & MiMi’s Pajama Project, a 501(c)3 charity that donates pajamas to needy children. The two prep-school students from Hamilton started the project while attending elementary school and recently marked the donation of their 10,000th pair of pajamas. They told us about upcoming projects and plans to partner with apparel companies. Club President Tom Damm announced a new project for us to collect donations for the Pajama Project. For information on how to help this great local charity, visit https://www.facebook.com/LMpjproject
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Carol Feldman from Shine and Inspire was on hand to (virtually) accept a $500.00 donation from our charitable foundation.
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Rotarian Wayne Mernone gave a Classification Talk about his personal background and how COVID-19 has affected his business as an Allstate Personal Financial Representative.
 

Shine and Inspire!

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Our guest speaker this morning was Carol Feldman, founder and Executive Director of Shine and Inspire, a local nonprofit assisting people in need while inspiring them to pay it forward.

The group’s mission is “Brightening Lives in Mercer County.” Carol is also a licensed therapist and addiction specialist with offices in Hamilton and Pennington.
 
Carol told us how applicants who receive assistance do pay it forward to help others, including the recent case of a woman who received beds for her children and then started a support group on Zoom for people in difficult circumstances similar to hers.
 
The non-profit usually hosts two large parties each year to distribute toys, coats, blankets and other items to area children but could not do so last year, so a recent initiative is establishing “Shine & Inspire Closets” at area schools to stock things like personal hygiene and home cleaning products.
 

To volunteer with or donate to Shine and Inspire, contact them on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/ShineAndInspire

, on their website www.shineandinspire.org, with email to carol@shineandinspire.org, or call Carol Feldman at (609)-841-9083.


Rotarians Ring the Bell

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On  Friday 12/18 and Saturday 12/19 Rotarians Rang the Bell for The Salvation Army Trenton Citadel Corps.


Rotarians – Holiday Elves 2020

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It’s been a busy week so far for Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton’s elves!! We started off over the weekend with Allan Rosen delivering toys 🧸 , clothes, and comforters to NJ Rise and Cindy Schwab Rosen delivering toys 🧸 to Womanspace, Inc.
 
Yesterday Joe Cavone and Cindy Schwab Rosen delivered dozens of coats 🧥, hats 🧢, scarves 🧣, and gloves 🧤 to Sandro’s Coat Rack and then met up with Kalpana Patel, her husband, and Scott Biondi to deliver more than 6,000 items as part of our Winter ❄️ Survival Kits to Barrett Young at The Rescue Mission of Trenton
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Thank you to our generous community for donating much needed items to help others in need.
Visit www.rhrotary.org for more information on who we are and what we do! Join us! #rhrotary #ServiceAboveSelf #Rotary

12/11/20 Meeting Highlights

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We were most pleased to welcome back as our guest speaker sports broadcaster Tom McCarthy. He is the play-by-play announcer for Philadelphia Phillies television broadcasts and also calls National Football League games and select NBA and College Basketball games. Earlier in his career he served as the play-by-play announcer for Trenton Thunder Baseball for six seasons.
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Tom spoke about how COVID-19 has changed broadcasting, including having to call games from remote locations far from the fields of play. He was optimistic about the future of the Phillies, especially if the team hires Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, as has been widely reported.
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Our December Students of the Month told us about their many achievements, community service work and future plans. Pictured, in order below, are Muskan Patel, Nottingham High School; Rachel Denniston, Hamilton West High School; Jack Riccobono, Robbinsville High School; and Hope Mauro, Steinert High School. Rotarian Greg Blair reminded students to look for scholarship opportunities on our website www.rhrotary.org/scholarships starting in January.
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Christine Secrist from the Trenton Rotary Club informed us about their virtual Comedy Night fundraiser on Zoom on Thursday, December 17 at 7 pm (there is a preview at 6:30 pm). Visit www.trentonrotary.org for information and a ticket link.
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For many years our club has participated in “Strike Out Hunger” events at Phillies games to benefit Rotary’s effort to finally eradicate polio from the world. Marvin Axler from Strike Out Hunger attended the meeting and reported that they hope to have a game on August 13 next year. Over 36 years, 2 million children have been inoculated against polio due to the efforts of Strike Out Hunger and Rotary.
 

Toy Donations

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The first of what will be several deliveries of toys for families served by Womanspace and RISE thanks to the generosity of the community and our Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton members. These organizations do such important work and we are proud to support them.

Cindy Schwab Rosen  (left in photo) is the chair of our toy drive. Club Secretary Scott Biondi and his wife
Linda Biondi dropped off toys from our collection to RISE today. See our flyer on www.rhrotary.org for information on how you can support this holiday effort.

Meeting Highlights 12/4/20

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The Rotary Club meeting this morning featured a visit by Sandro Cunningham and member Classification Talks. As a six-year-old several years ago, Sandro founded Sandro’s Coat Rack across Escher St. from the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). The youngster from Hamilton formed the non-profit to donate winter coats to those in need after seeing a TV report about people going cold in the winter. He thanked us for the recent donation of 210 coats from collections by the club and the Be Kind group. Rotarian Cindy Rosen informed that approximately 200 more coats will be hung on the coat rack in the coming days by club members and Be Kind.
 
Niveda Horaginamani spoke about her inspiration to join Rotary coming from her parents while growing up in India, her work as an SAP Validation Engineer at Merck Pharmaceuticals, and about “how great Rotary is and how the Rotarians are respected around the globe.” She, husband Rajash and 7th grader son Rishi live in Chesterfield.
 
Kalpana Patel recounted her background, also growing up in India, earning multiple degrees in physics, working odd jobs to get a start upon arrival in the U.S., teaching physics at Raritan Valley C.C., having a 30-year corporate career, and finally retiring to establish Excellence Management Consulting, LLC, offering Executive Coaching, Leadership Team Training and Operations Management consulting services. Kalpana and her husband Raj live in West Windsor.
 
Both members expressed their strong commitment to giving back and to Rotary’s mantra of “Service Above Self.”

Santa Comes to Robbinsville

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What a wonderful community collaborative effort this was for Rotary to be a part of. Thank you to our friends at the Salvation Army Trenton Citadel for bringing their new Canteen truck out full of Hot Cocoa for everyone to enjoy. Thank you Robbinsville Fire Department, Robbinsville Twp PBA #344, HamiltonRadio.net, Word Center Printing, Mercer Neighbors Publications, Lazy Susan Tree Farms, Robbinsville Department of Public Works and especially Lee Paroly and Friendly’s Foxmoor.


Donation to National Guard State Family Readiness Council

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As a follow up to our Friday meeting, Len Mayersohn, Chairman of the National Guard State Family Readiness Council, was presented with a $500 donation from our charitable foundation at our Flags for Heroes display site. As set forth in their mission statement, “The National Guard State Family Readiness Council assesses the needs of the New Jersey National Guard families, recommends solutions to meet those needs, and seeks implementation of solutions on a state level.” Economic hardships often occur when National Guard members are deployed overseas because they may earn a fraction of their normal job pay, or have their small business affected by time away. That’s when the Council steps in with grants to assist Guard troops and their families. To learn more about them and how to support their work, visit nationalguardsfrc.org. Pictured, from left, are Club Past Presidents Ken Diener and Bill Coleman, Club President Tom Damm and Len Mayersohn.


Club Assembles Thanksgiving Food Bags

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Rotary Club volunteers and friends helped TEAM85 Fitness and Wellness put together 245 bags of Thanksgiving food items at their facility on Route 130 this morning. Team85 has been receiving food donations for several weeks with the goal of delivering meals to 1,300 area families. Team85 is supplying the bags and turkeys. Our club’s charitable foundation donated $500 for a portion of the food supplies, and club members will also assist with delivery of the meals. Kevin Johnson, Team85’s Owner and CEO, is pictured third from the right in the group photo below. Also pictured are Rotarian Kalpana Patel, Event Chair, and Rotary Club Treasurer Sharon Lucidi (with the Team 85 sign).


Salvation Army Donations

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Yesterday Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Rotarians and friends, went down to The Salvation Army Trenton Citadel Corps to deliver 350 pair of socks 🧦 from our Socktober event, 135 blankets 🧶 from Project Linus – Mercer County, NJ Chapter, 200 masks 🎭 from Mercer Mask Project, and some leftover Halloween candy 🍬!! The guys also helped load the canteen that was ready to roll out and deliver much needed food and our donations to the area residents. #ServiceAboveSelf #rotary #rhrotary


Flags for Heroes Dedication Event 11/7/20

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🇺🇸 What an amazing presentation at our Flag Field this morning! ❤️🤍💙 Thank you to all our sponsors for your generosity! With your help we were able to present Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital with $2500 for their Holistic Cancer Center. 🇺🇸 Thank you to all the hospital officials who came out to accept this donation, Councilman Dan Schuberth and his wife Natalie Rallis Schuberth, and all our Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton officers who made speeches! It was a wonderful event on a beautiful November day! ❤️🤍💙


 Club Helps Sandro’s Coat Rack and TASK

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This morning after our Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton meeting a few of us went down to Sandro’s Coat Rack and Trenton Area Soup Kitchen to hang coats and deliver items for the needy. In connection with Be Kind, our Rotary Club donated 110 coats 🧥, 98 hats 🧢, 10 scarves 🧣, 12 pair of gloves 🧤, 16 neck warmers, 3 snow pants, 250 masks from Mercer Mask Project, and five shopping bags full of candy 🍭!!!
 
Pictured (l to r) TASK Staff Member Justin Williams, Rotarian Thomas Lanigan, Rotarian Cindy Schwab Rosen, a TASK client, TASK Manager of Food Services & Facilities Paul J, and Rotarian Bill Coleman. Not pictured is our Rotary Club Secretary and photographer, Scott Biondi! Thanks to everyone for their generosity and making this possible! #ServiceAboveSelf #rhrotary #bekind

Meeting Highlights 11/6/2020

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A large number of members attended our weekly meeting this morning and enjoyed hearing from guest speaker Reginald “Reggie” Coleman, Executive Vice President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County (BGC), where he manages both Club facilities and its operations. President Tom Damm noted that Reggie has long been a friend of our Rotary Club.
 
Reggie joined the Boys & Girls Club in 1998 as the Youth Development Director, and in his time at the club he has seen the organization grow from a $350,000 annual budget serving 300 youths a year to a $4 million budget serving close to 3,000 youths per year. He reviewed the many adjustments BGC has had to make during the pandemic, how funds from the BGC Bike Exchange (the recent recipient of a large donation from our club) are used for after-school and other programs, informed us about their Career Access Program (CAP) for teens, and reported that a recent virtual run fundraiser was a huge success. For more information about BGC, how to donate to them, and for volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.bgcmercer.org/.
 
In other business, Rotarian Chris Merlino reported that during “Socktober” a total of 1,395 pairs of socks were donated, and President Tom outlined upcoming projects: helping Team 85 pack and deliver Thanksgiving meals to about 1,300 families in the area, collecting items for Winter Survival Kits for the Rescue Mission and others, collecting toys for Womanspace and Rise, and helping the Salvation Army with one of their annual Red Kettle collections.
We were pleased to welcome Christine Secrist, Past President of the Trenton Rotary Club, as a guest.

Bike Drive

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we shattered another event record when we collected 127 bikes, a dozen scooters and various bike parts in three hours outside of Friendly’s Foxmoor. It was by far the largest collection of bikes the Boys and Girls Club Bike Exchange has received in the last several years and by far the most our club has ever collected in a bike drive. The Bike Exchange said the bikes will sell for a total of $8,000 to $9,000 – money that will go to the Boys and Girls Club for youth programs. Thanks to the Rotarians who were available to assist in the drive.


Meeting Highlights – 10/16/20

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It was our pleasure to welcome back Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, as our speaker this morning. Micah shared some of the online tools he uses each day to track the upcoming election, including early voting, voter affiliation trends, polling comparisons with the 2016 and earlier elections, key U.S. Senate races, and NJ congressional district races. He also discussed mail-in/absentee vote counting, and the three public questions on the N.J. ballot, including a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana.

The Rebovich Institute hosts a number of events for which Micah books leading figures from New Jersey and national politics as speakers. The next online program on November 10 at noon will feature New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli (a Rider grad and Hamiltonian) who will talk about her role in leading the state’s coronavirus response. For more information, visit www.rider.edu/rebovich.

Today’s meeting was also our first with Students of the Month for this school year! Each month from October through May, students from the four Hamilton and Robbinsville public high schools tell us about their achievements, community service, and future plans after graduation. Pictured (photos 3-6 in order) are Isabella “Bella” Kaufman, Steinert High School; Sarah Pierce, Nottingham High School; Elaine Wolochuk, Robbinsville High School; and Rotarian Greg Blair who coordinates the student visits.

We were also honored by a visit from our District Governor Ann Walko!

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We have a lot of great activities coming up so please check out or website www.rhrotary.org or our Facebook page www.facebook.com/rhrotary or email us at President@RHRotary.org for more info!


Send Hunger Packing Food Drive at Foley’s

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Thank you to Joe Foley for hosting our Send Hunger Packing food drive today at Foley’s Family Market. Generous shoppers donated a large amount of food that was picked by the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank. With three of our food drives canceled at the major brand supermarkets, the two at Foley’s enabled us to help ease food insecurity in the area.


Meeting Highlights – 10/2/20

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We were most pleased to welcome the Hon. Paula Sollami Covello, Mercer County Clerk, as our guest speaker this morning. In her remarks, Clerk Covello reviewed new procedures affecting how Mercer County votes, including limits on who may use voting machines at polling places, and how ballots being sent to each registered voter may be mailed, put in drop boxes in each town, or dropped off at the polls. She also described the vote-counting process and measures in place to ensure accuracy and security. Further, she informed us that the Clerk’s Office is open for business and that appointments are required for most services.

The Clerk is active in civics and in her community, having served on the Lawrence Township Planning Board and in leadership positions with the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Mercer County Heart Walk Executive Committee, and the Womanspace Honorary Committee. Most recently, she was sworn in as president of the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey (COANJ).

Pat Hart, Executive Director of Womanspace, was a meeting guest.

In other business, we held a new member induction ceremony for Kimberly Swartz, a Hamilton resident. Welcome, Kim! That’s six new members this Rotary year, and brings our growing club roster to 50 Rotarians! President Tom gave updates for: a Food Drive at Foley’s Family Market tomorrow, a Miracle League fundraiser tomorrow at Killarney’s Publick House, collection of socks for the Rescue Mission during the month of “Socktober,” a Bike Drive on October 24, and our newest fundraiser, Flags for Heroes https://rhrotary.org/flags%20for%20heroes/


Megan’s Place Fall Cleanup

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Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton and Be Kind were out this morning doing a fall cleanup at Megan’s Place in Hamilton.  The Rotary Club raised funds, purchased the house where Megan Kanka was murdered and replaced it with a public park that was dedicated to Megan on Sept 20, 1995. #rhrotary #rotary #serviceaboveself #bekind #megansplace #megankanka


Meeting Highlights 9/25/20 – The Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce

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Our guest speaker today was Christine Curnan, VP of Membership and Development from the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber. In that position, she has successfully grown their membership from 500 to over 1,400 member companies, with over 8,000 company contacts. She is also responsible for starting key business initiatives, including the Real Estate Business Alliance Program, Trenton Economic Development Program, and the Diversity & Inclusion Program.

Christine told us that the purpose of the Chamber is “to help businesses in the region stay viable,” and described how the group has transitioned to online events; how they are a valuable source of information for their members, particularly small businesses; the networking opportunities; and how their membership costs are kept low for firms like sole proprietorships. She was particularly proud that their Princeton Mercer Regional Foundation partnered with Princeton University to raise a large of money for grants to small businesses, and of the Chamber’s efforts to highlight the work of area non-profits.

Finally, she said that Mercer County has fared somewhat better than other areas of New Jersey during the economic effects of the pandemic, and that a number of businesses have done well supplying goods and services specific to a recovery from the health crisis. For information, visit https://princetonmercerchamber.org/ or send an email to Christine@princetonmercer.org.

In other club business, President Tom Damm outlined a number of upcoming club events: “Socktober,” a month-long collection of socks for the Rescue Mission; a Food Drive Sat. Oct. 3 at Foley’s Family Market; a Bike Drive on Sat. Oct. 24 at Friendly’s restaurant in Robbinsville; and “Flags for Heroes,” a Nov. 1 – 14 display of American flags with the opportunity for individuals and companies to honor heroes of their own. Visit www.rhrotary.org for more information.


9/11/20 Hamilton Mayor Martin Addresses the Club

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A large number of members and two guests – both prospective members – gathered online today for the regular Friday morning Rotary Club meeting. We were especially pleased to also welcome the Hon. Jeff Martin, Hamilton Township Mayor, as our guest speaker.

In his remarks, Mayor Martin outlined several priorities for his administration: First, helping small, “mainstream businesses” which are “the backbone of the community” with grants to recover from the earlier shutdown, and by supporting Shop Hamilton and other business groups that promote buying locally. Second, continuing to address the ongoing health crisis. He reported the good news that new cases of COVID-19 in the township have dropped dramatically since the spring peak. Third, he’s looking forward to working with a new “non-profits advisory commission,” a group charged with developing partnerships between non-profits and between them and government.

The Mayor also talked about new commercial building projects; how the township plans to install more election ballot drop-boxes; how he and the mayors of neighboring towns have regular, cooperative discussions about issues affecting the area; and township compliance with mandated affordable housing rules.


9/11/20 Club Assembly, New Member Induction

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Our Rotary “Club Assembly” meeting this morning featured the induction of another new member (making 49!) and the “Classification Talks” by two of our newest members. Kalpana Patel, a management consultant and president of her own consulting firm, Excellence Management Consulting, LLC, resides in Princeton Junction with her husband, Dr. Rajendra K. Patel. Their daughter is a practicing cardiologist in the area.

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Sonya Lopez Bright grew up in Vineland, NJ and works as a trial attorney for USAA Insurance, where she defends members who have been sued in Central NJ. She, her husband Doug and their 6-year old twins reside in Hamilton. She also has two step children in their twenties. She has participated in fundraisers for TASK, HomeFront and the Rescue Mission of Trenton, and looks forward to community service through our Rotary Club.

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Anjali Chatterjee grew up in India, is a former math teacher, and after becoming certified as a Human Services Practitioner, works as a social worker with the Mercer County Board of Social Services. She works part-time at Mathnasium in Robbinsville. She and her husband Subrato and their two daughters reside in Robbinsville. Anjali looks forward to volunteering and participating in community events.

In other business, President Tom Damm announced a $1,500 donation from our foundation to the Miracle League of Mercer County to celebrate the league’s fifteenth anniversary and to support “Birthday Bash,” an 8-hour virtual fundraiser, co-hosted by Killarney’s Publick House, taking place from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 3. Also, the club will have a “Flags for Heroes” event, the outdoor, public display of at least 100 American flags in early November. Individual and corporate sponsors will receive “medallions” – keepsakes attached to the flag poles during the event to identify their heroes. Watch this space for more information.


Meeting Highlights 9/4/2020

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A large number of Rotarians and guests attended our “hybrid” club meeting this morning, gathered at the YMCA’s Sawmill Road facility and on Zoom. President Tom Damm presented a check from our foundation in the amount of $3,000 to Rachel Holland, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Hamilton Area YMCA. The donation was a result of our recent “Mercer’s Got Magic” fundraiser.

Rotarian Dan Sczweck, the Y’s Director of Staff Development, and Executive Director of the Miracle League of Mercer County, recalled league history and detailed how its fifteenth anniversary will be celebrated this fall. “Birthday Bash,” an 8-hour virtual fundraiser, co-hosted by Killarney’s Publick House, will take place from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 3.

For more information, and an article by Hamilton Pulse, visit https://hamiltonpulse.com/miracle-league-of-mercer-county-…/. Information about the Miracle League is available at www.miracleleaguemercer.org, and about the YMCA and its programs at www.hamiltonymca.org.


Meeting Highlights 8/28/2020

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We were pleased to welcome Bernie Flynn, CEO of Mercer Street Friends, a non-profit addressing issues of poverty throughout Mercer County, as our guest speaker today. Our club has a long history as a community service partner of the organization, especially with its food bank. Bernie retired from New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Group following a 25-year career, including 10 years as Chief Executive Officer. He contributes his time to Mercer St. Friends as a full time, unpaid employee, something President Tom Damm noted as a great example of the Rotary motto “Service Above Self.” He told us about continued efforts to address food insecurity in Mercer County, with an emphasis on the needs of children. After schools closed in March, affecting the distribution of individual food packs under the Send Hunger Packing program, the agency switched to “family packs” to serve more people over a longer period of time. Bernie also noted the club’s contribution of meals this year under the Rotary District 7475 End Hunger 3.6 project and by Rotarian Umang Naik’s family. Earlier in the meeting, President Tom “presented” a $500 donation check from our foundation to Pat Hart, executive director of Womanspace.


Project Linus – People Helping People

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Some of the residents at Granville Place helping out Project Linus – Mercer County, NJ Chapter! Thank you to Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton member Wayne Mernone for setting this up to support our National Day of Service and Remembrance event! #blankets #projectlinus #Rotary #ServiceAboveSelf


Club Donates 140 School Supply Backpacks

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The Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton’s annual School Backpack & Supplies project was completed this morning with a delivery to Wilson Elementary School in Hamilton Twp. We exceeded our goal of 80 by donating 141 backpacks plus thousands of school supplies. This entire donation was made possible by the generosity of club members, groups such as Hamilton Revolution Pop Warner Cheer, and other local supporters. Pictured, from left, are Club President Tom Damm, Rotarian George Ott, Club Secretary Scott Biondi, School Principal May Fermin-Cannon, Past Club President Joe Bellina, and School Custodian John Badalamenti. Not pictured due to a meeting conflict is Rotarian Teresa Caro who chaired the project. Thank you all for your amazing generosity! If you would like more information on how you can get involved with the club please email President@RHRotary.org #Rotary #ServiceAboveSelf


Meeting Highlights 8/21/20 – Our First “Hybrid” meeting


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Our Rotary Club held a “hybrid” meeting this morning, with members in person – while observing safety protocols – at the Miracle League field on Sawmill Rd. and many others on Zoom. Guest Speaker Annie Fox, Director of Resource Development at Habitat of Humanity of Burlington and Greater Trenton-Mercer, gave us an update about the non-profit’s work. After a hiatus starting in March, Habitat is now completing projects to build and repair homes for low-income families. They have re-opened the Burlington & Mercer Co. ReStore in Independence Mall, 2465 S Broad St. in Hamilton to accept donations of building supplies and other materials. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity, how to volunteer and donate, and information about an October 19 Golf Outing fundraiser, visit https://www.hfhbmc.org/. One of Club President Tom Damm’s goals for this Rotary year is to have our club participate in an upcoming Habitat project.


Hamilton Revolution Pop Warner Cheerleaders Support Backpack Project

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Thank you to Hamilton Revolution Pop Warner Cheer! These young ladies set up a drive to support our Annual School Supplies Drive for The Wilson School! Rotary extends to all ages! Check out your local school Interact or Rotaract Clubs or this link for more information: https://www.rotary.org/en/our-programs/youth-programs

Looking to get involved locally with our “adult program”? Send an email to President@RHRotary.org for more information!


Rotary Sends Hunger Packing

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Rotary Club President Tom Damm was joined by Rotarians Sharon Lucidi, Judy Goldstein, Linda Gearren, Jodi O’Donnell-Ames, JoAnne Bruno, Joe Bellina, Keith Platt, Paul Neu, Simeon Rochonchou, Ken Diener, Tom Lanigan, Joe Giambelluca and Scott Biondi for a Send Hunger Packing food drive at Foley’s Family Market today. Thanks to the generosity of area shoppers, we filled ten shopping carts with food and received several hundred dollars in cash donations. Special thanks are due to proprietor Joe Foley, Erica Stefanelli and the store staff for stocking up on key food items for us, and to Jamal Cox from Mercer St. Friends for his pickup and delivery to the food bank. (photos by Peggy Krawiec Damm)


8/14/20 District Governor Visit, New Member Inductions

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A large number of Rotarians from our club and the Rotary Clubs of Florham Park and Morris Plains attended a meeting this morning hosted by Rotary District 7475 Governor Ann Walko. Rotary tradition calls for DGs to visit each club in their districts at least once during the year, so DG Ann’s Zoom meeting was for her three “sunrise” clubs – those usually conducting breakfast meetings each week. She talked about goals set forth by Rotary International and detailed plans being developed at the district level. A highlight for us was DG Ann officiating the induction ceremony for four new members of the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton:

Sonya Lopez Bright
Anjali Chatterjee
Amy Mosho
AnnMarie Potts

We look forward to each of our new members helping us continue to serve the community.


Meeting Highlights 8/7/20

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Our guest speaker this morning was Dr. Seth D. Rosenbaum, MD, MMM-SVP, Chief Medical Officer at RWJUH Hamilton. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Rosenbaum spoke about COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the local area and how New Jersey has “made significant progress” in fighting the virus. He said the transmission rate which dictates re-opening options for the state has plateaued. He told us about how RWJUH Hamilton Hospital has participated in treatment trials, what is being used now to treat patients, and what they are doing to plan for a possible resurgence of the virus. Finally, he said that the hospital is “open for business” and available to people who may have postponed medical tests or procedures, and he detailed safety precautions being taken, including employee training, screening of arrivals at their facilities, and use of PPE and rapid-result COVID testing. A video of Dr. Rosenbaum’s presentation is available on our website at https://rhrotary.org/rhrc-video-productions/


Robbinsville Hamilton Rotarians and “Be Kind” Pack 5000 Meals

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Last night we packaged 5,000 meals for the food insecure in our area. Following social distancing guidelines with masks, gloves, aprons, and hairnets we worked in our family pods to fill and pack meals for those in need. The event was a joint venture between Be Kind and Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton in honor of Naik Rakesh’s 50th birthday! Rakesh is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Gandevi, India. #ServiceAboveSelf #rotary #bekind


Meeting Highlights 7/31/20

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Awesome way to start the day! Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton had an amazing meeting this morning with Pat Hart from Womanspace, Inc. as our guest speaker. Contact Membershipchair@rhrotary.org  if you want to find out more about what we do in the community! We had a lot of prospective members joining us today as well! #rotary #ServiceAboveSelf


Meeting Highlights 7/24/2020

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Our Friday AM meeting featured guest speaker Mike Ziccardi, Executive Director of Recovery Advocates of America (RAA), a non-profit fighting opiate addiction and alcoholism. Mike spoke about the non-profit’s funding challenges caused by cuts in federal and state grants and the cancellation of their spring fundraiser. But, he also emphasized that RAA continues to staff interventions and work with local police departments with the CARE program to help save those in need. Club President Tom Damm announced that a $1,000 grant from our foundation is being sent to RAA. To learn more about RAA and to send them a donation, visit https://recoveryadvocates.org/. (Mike is shown below at RAA’s 7th Annual Jersey’s Run/Walk for Recovery fundraiser in 2019, which we helped sponsor; and at today’s Zoom meeting).

In other business, event Chair Joe Cavone reported that ticket and sponsorship sales are going well for our July 29 virtual magic show fundraiser, “Mercer’s Got Magic;” however we need additional support from the public to make a significant donation to the Hamilton Area YMCA. Tickets are available at www.mercersgotmagic.com. Also, the club is collecting backpacks and school supplies to be donated to Wilson Elem. School in Hamilton. For information about what is needed and how to donate, send an email to secretary@rhrotary.org.


Meeting Highlights 7/17/2020

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A large number of our members convened on Zoom this morning for our regular Friday meeting. We were most pleased to welcome the Hon. Dave Fried, Mayor of Robbinsville Twp., as our guest speaker. Mayor Fried talked about the township response to the COVID-19 health crisis; how its police officers receive special de-escalation training aimed at improving outcomes during interactions with the public; and its C.A.R.E. (Community Addiction Recovery Effort) Program.

We were also pleased to welcome Christine Secrist from the Trenton Rotary Club, Jim Samuel, VP of Mid-Day Toastmaster Club #4139 in Robbinsville, and several prospective members.

Club President Tom Damm highlighted Rotary Club projects, including Mercer’s Got Magic (www.mercersgotmagic.com), a fundraiser on July 29 to benefit the YMCA, and the collection through mid-August of school backpacks and supplies for the students at Wilson Elem. School. He also informed that Rotarian Umang Naik and his family are funding and hosting a satellite “End Hunger 3.6” project to package 5,000 meals for those at risk of food insecurity.


Officer Installation 2020

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Members of the club met via Zoom conference to share in the year’s achievements, which include the highest honor from a district to a club – The Presedential Citation. Congratulations President Bill and all members of the club who made this happen!

The club was also awarded the Care and Share award for our Winter Survival Kit project.  Special recognition to Danely for her leadership in this effort.

Several club awards were presented, the Officers and Directors from last year were dismissed and new officers for the 2020/21 year were installed.

To see videos of the Installation Ceremony, Click Here.


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