Meeting Highlights 10/1/21: Micah Rasmussen Discusses Upcoming Elections
Our hybrid meeting of The Rotary Club this morning featured Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University, as our guest speaker. He has contributed to the public affairs of the state for more than two decades, and has more than fifteen years of experience as an adjunct professor of political science. Micah discussed the upcoming New Jersey elections, offered a look into next year’s national elections, informed us about congressional redistricting and reapportionment processes, and previewed some upcoming events at the Institute.
Club Assists Humanitarian Efforts
The Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton and Be Kind took full advantage of today’s sunny skies to continue our humanitarian missions assisting those in need around Mercer and Burlington Counties. Today’s donations consisted of more than 4 pallets fresh fruits, vegetables, cereal and more to the American Red Cross – Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and NJ Rise Food Pantries. This could not have been possible without the community service partnership of RotaryDistrict7475 DGE John Shockley, his 911 Carting and Septic Company and the Rotary Club of Branchburg NJ. Thanks to their selfless generosity and support, more than 1000 individuals, families and children will not go hungry this week. ❤️ #ServeToChangeLives
Recovery Advocates of America at their 5K Walk for Recovery
Rotarians are out on this beautiful Saturday morning in Mercer County Park joining our community service partners at Recovery Advocates of America at their 5K Walk for Recovery.
Meeting Highlights 9/24/21: “Controlling Your Fear”
Our speaker today was Jim Samuel from the Mid-Day Toastmasters Club. We also welcomed Joyce Rouba, president of their club. Jim is a ten-time distinguished Toastmaster, a past Toastmasters district governor, and ten-time Toastmasters club president. Jim has won twenty-three area speech contests, and a district level contest.
His slide presentation was entitled “Controlling Your Fear,” and it outlined the triggers and symptoms of fear about public speaking and how to manage that anxiety. For information about Toastmasters, visit www.4139.toastmastersclubs.org/.
In a continued partnership with RotaryDistrict7475 DGE John Shockley, his 911 Carting and Septic Company, the Rotary Club of Branchburg and Robbinsville-based Be Kind, Club President Joseph Bellina, Joe Cavone and Bill Coleman delivered (6) full pallets with more than 8,000 lbs of perishable and non-perishable food to NJ Rise’s Food Pantry in Hightstown, NJ. NJ Rise is currently serving more than 400 families per week. Today’s donation will go along way to help feed those in need. We thank all of our community service partners for making this possible.
Flags for Heroes Kicks Off!
What an honor for our upcoming 2nd Annual Flags for Heroes campaign at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton to be featured on the front covers of the October 2021 issues of Mercer Neighbors’ “Our Robbinsville” and “Hamilton Square Neighbors” magazines.
Meeting Highlights 9/17/21
Rotarians on the patio at Brother’s Pizza and on Zoom for a hybrid meeting of the club enjoyed hearing from guest speaker Kevin Coyne, an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He has written for a variety of magazines and newspapers, including the Asbury Park Press and The New York Times, for which he wrote a weekly column about New Jersey. Also, he is the Freehold Borough Historian and an accomplished author. He was accompanied to the meeting by former Freehold Borough Mayor Nolan Higgins.
Kevin lamented the loss of thousands of print newspapers with tens of thousands of reporters in the last twenty years, leading to what he described as a “crisis of information” in the U.S. He said proposals to improve the situation include using tax credits and a “civic information fund” to encourage the development of news services which would do the required amount of research to present a complete story to the public.
We also welcomed Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried to the meeting and he informed us that the township’s annual State of the Township & Pay It Forward event will be held on Tuesday, October 5 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at The Stone Terrace, and benefit a young lady in need of a service dog.
Rotary Gazebo Improvements
Members of the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton recently gave our Robbinsville Township Gazebo on the Lake a facelift! We had a great time doing so!
Meeting Highlights 9/10/21
Today’s meeting of The Rotary Club was a “Club Assembly,” but we also had a speaker: Club Founder Greg Blair recounted how the Miracle League of Mercer County – a baseball diamond allowing individuals with disabilities to move freely around the bases and throughout the field regardless of any physical and/or cognitive limitations they may have – was created over fifteen years ago. A member watching a human-interest story on TV led to members traveling to Conyers, GA and Myrtle Beach, SC to visit Miracle League facilities, and the club took on the project to build one here. With the Hamilton Area YMCA agreeing to host and run the league at its Saw Mill Road center, the club raised $200,000 in funds and secured in-kind donations for a total $350,000 budget for construction. The Mercer County field was the first in the Northeast and the fifteenth in the nation where there are now 320 Miracle League operations. Rotarian Dan Sczweck, the league President & Executive Director, reminded members that tonight is Opening Night, with games starting tomorrow. For more about the Miracle League, visit www.miracleleaguemercer.org.
Our “Rotary Supports Womanspace” event got off to an early and good start with several donations for victims of domestic violence being counseled by Womanspace.
Rotarians Provide Aid
Rotarians Bill Coleman and Nev Greenough were busy today delivering supplies being distributed by the Rotary Club of Branchburg. Rotary District 7475 Governor-Elect John Schockley and his club have done a tremendous service managing numerous large donations.
Bill and Nev delivered cases of disinfectant wipes for City of Lambertville flood relief; wipes, cases of mac & cheese and paper goods to the Salvation Army in Trenton; and 26 cases of mac & cheese dinners to club member Scott Biondi for delivery to Mercer St. Friends Food Bank. Tomorrow, the rest of the truckload of items will be taken to the Red Cross at JBMDL to assist Afghan evacuees.
Meeting Highlights 9/3/21
Donations for Afghan Refugees
Yesterday, Club President Joe Bellina and Rotarian Bill Coleman continued a joint effort with Be Kind, Lala & Mimi’s Pajama Project, Project Linus and Hightstown Elks Lodge 1955 to deliver donated food and supplies to Afghan evacuees housed at Joint Base-MDL. Receiving our donations was Nikki Allen, Senior Specialist, Red Cross New Jersey at Joint Base-MDL. The truckload of almost 200 cases and bags of new women’s, infant and children’s clothing, plus footwear, pajamas, undergarments, stadium blankets, plastic utensils, Girl Scout cookies and Snapple Ice Tea had an estimated combined retail value of over $12,000.
Today our club had the privilege of partnering with RotaryDistrict7475 Governor-Elect John Shockley and delivered dozens of cases of Snapple Ice Tea, bottles of ketchup, vinyl gloves and yummy Girl Scout cookies to The Salvation Army Trenton Citadel Corps. These donations, received by fellow Rotarian Charlie Parkerson (Rotary Club of Trenton, New Jersey), will be used in part for their weekly Canteen Ministry. We also were able to coordinate with our neighbors at The Rotary Club of Hamilton Township and President Marie Varga on the delivery of additional cases of Girl Scout cookies. Those cookies will find their way into the hands of returning families at the Kuser Elementary School, a local Title 1 school.
Meeting Highlights 8/27/21
Our guest speaker today was Julia Badulescu, the Rise Pantry Director. Rise, a prominent charitable organization headquartered in Hightstown, operates a thrift store, offers hot meals, has youth programs, runs seasonal events and offers a host of social services, in addition to running the food pantry. Julia reported that since the start of the pandemic, distribution of food has increased many-fold and clients are statewide, not just from the Hightstown/East Windsor area. The pantry has received meals from the Rotary End Hunger 3.6 program and from meal packaging events run by Be Kind, and Project Linus has donated numerous blankets to Rise. For more information about Rise, to volunteer with them and to donate, visit www.njrise.org.
After the meeting, Rotarians met at the offices of Selective Insurance to assemble school backpacks and supplies. Thanks to generous club members and our supporters we surpassed our goal and delivered 130 backpacks filled with supplies, plus extra items, to Wilson Elementary School in Hamilton. Pictured on stage at the school are, from left, Ken Diener, Backpack Project Chair Teresa Caro, Wilson E.S. Secretary Stephanie Vigliarolo, Joe Giambelluca and Rotary Club President Joe Bellina.
Ken Diener, Cindy Schwab Rosen, Joe Cavone, Club President Joseph Bellina, and District AG Bill Coleman at the Robbinsville Farmers’ Market .
Meeting Highlights 8/20/21
We collected 923 lbs. of food items for Mercer St. Friends Food Bank “Send Hunger Packing (SHUP)” Initiative
The August heat was on during our food drive today and the hearts of Rotarians were warmed by the generosity of shoppers at Foley’s Family Market. A weigh-in at Mercer St. Friends Food Bank showed we collected 923 lbs. of food items for Send Hunger Packing (SHUP). Also, the cash donations collected will be used to purchase food for SHUP as part of a Rotary District 7475 Grant project. Thanks to Joe Foley and his staff for their hospitality and to Joe Jones from the food bank for picking up three totes full of food supplies. Our next food drive is October 9, also at Foley’s Family Market.
Our Bandstand is Beautiful!
This morning a group of us from Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton went out to continue the sprucing up of our gazebo at the Town Center Lake in Robbinsville. We powered through the heat and had a great time! Interested in joining us for other fellowship events? Send a quick email to President@RHRotary.org or comment below! #ServiceAboveSelf #Rotary #rhrotary
Meeting Highlights 8/13/21
Meeting Highlights 8/6/21
Our guest speaker at a morning meeting of The Rotary Club was Malissa Arnold, the Program Coordinator for the Drug Free Communities grant at Mercer Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction. That non-profit focuses on assisting communities with drug and alcohol misuse. Malissa works with the Prevention Coalition of Mercer County, heads youth initiatives on peer-to-peer learning, and specializes in tobacco and vaping education.
She informed that the Council’s “patient navigators” give clients choices, including paths to recovery, and tell them that “abstinence is the direct opposite of addiction.” A big effort is made for prevention, including using social influencers to deliver an “educated-choice message.” While Mercer Council as a non-profit NGO cannot lobby for sound legislation, they are trying to educate the public on the effects of marijuana on young people. To learn more about their work and how to support them, visit www.mercercouncil.org or contact Malissa Arnold at firstname.lastname@example.org and 609-396-5874 ext. 202.
Club President Joe Bellina offered our congratulations to all six Hamilton Township Economic Development Advisory Commission’s 2021 distinguished awards recipients, and noting the following:
– Rotarian Marilyn Silverman, Maurice T. Perilli Business Volunteer of the Year Award
– Club charity partner Killarney’s Publick House, Impact Award
– Club charity partner Foley’s Family Market, Small Business of the Year Award
Meeting Highlights 7/30/21
Rotarians Assist the Salvation Army Canteen
Inaugural Event of the Mercer County Military Action Council
Representing the Robbinsville Hamilton Rotary Club, president Joe Bellina recently attended the inaugural event of the Mercer County Military Action Council along with Regina Arcuri, chairwoman of the organization, and Gary Gellman of Gellman Images.
Meeting Highlights 7/23/21
Trenton Rotarian Receives Award
Trenton Thunder Baseball Contributes to our Foundation
Thank you to the Trenton Thunder Baseball for honoring our foundation with the proceeds from tonight’s 7/20 Grand Slam We Care Foundation Super 50/50. The $252 winner was Blue Ticket #284872. If it’s you, visit the Trenton Thunder (www.milb.com/trenton) to claim your winning prize.
Meeting Highlights 7/16/21
Our regular Friday morning meeting was a Club Assembly, a chance for fellowship among Rotarians, conducting club business and enjoying breakfast prepared by the staff at Brother’s Pizza.
Before that, we heard an emotional appeal from Seymour Josephson about the urgent need to increase awareness about ride share safety. After his daughter Samantha “Sami” was murdered and a suspect charged with posing as her Uber ride, Seymour and his family founded Whatsmyname, a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization, to publicize safety steps and information about how to verify a ride share service, and to influence the passage of relevant legislation. To learn more about the group and how to support them, including at a 5K Run/1 Mile Walk fundraiser on September 25, visit www.whatsmyname.org.
Club VP Chris Reetz announced that Rotarians will be painting the West Town Center Lake Gazebo (aka “Rotary Gazebo”) on three dates in August, using paint donated by Kucker Haney Paint Co. (www.kuckerhaneypaint.com).
Rotarians Judy Goldstein and Sharon Lucidi announced they will be collecting women’s sweatpants and shirts, tee shirts, underwear and other clothing for distribution to local hospitals where abuse victims might need something to wear home after giving up clothing items for criminal evidence.
Our first food drive for Send Hunger Packing will take place Saturday, August 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Foley’s Family Market on Whitehorse Mercerville Rd. Shoppers will be given a list of key food items that the Mercer St. Friends Food Bank distributes to local school children.
Club Member Nev Greenough is heading up an initiative to collect used PCs and laptops for TDI to rebuild and donate to students, families, individuals and non-profits in the Trenton.
Finally, the club will collect school backpacks and supplies for donation to students at Wilson Elementary School in Hamilton Township in late August.
Meeting Highlights 7/9/21
Our guest speaker this morning was Ann Vickers, Retail Manager of AAA’s Northeast Region, joined by Sherry Meng, a Senior Travel Agent at AAA.
Ann and Sherry gave us a summary of services offered by AAA (www.AAA.com), including at AAA Hamilton on Route 33, and talked about the current state of the travel industry. Ann reported that recent surveys of the public show “an increased optimism for travel.” She emphasized the importance of early planning for trips.
Ann recommends travel insurance with more coverage (eg. for a health emergency) than vendor insurance that only covers a trip cancelation. Travelers should make themselves aware of COVID testing, vaccination, masking and other possible requirements during their trip. Rental cars are in high demand so Ann recommended people look at alternate car services. Sherry encouraged looking at AAA’s refundable rates on travel packages, and noted the return of River Cruising, including on rivers in the USA.
Ann Vickers may be reached at 609-890-2220 x4185741 and Sherry Xiangbo Meng at 609-890-2220 x4185701. AAA is currently recruiting travel agents to replace a number who retired last year. Pictured from left are Sherry Meng, Ann Vickers and Club President Joe Bellina.
We were pleased to welcome a guest, Angelo Onofri, who is being sponsored for club membership by President Joe.
Mercer County Prosecutor Speaks to Club
We were honored to welcome Angelo J. Onofri, the Mercer County prosecutor, as our guest speaker this morning. As the county’s chief law enforcement officer, he leads the 200-member prosecutor’s office.
Mr. Onofri recounted the difficulties his staff faced working remotely during the height of the pandemic, including handling 14 cases per day vs. 30 during normal times, and how the resumption of live trials was delayed from November 2020 to this past month. He said the pandemic also resulted in an increase in child predator crimes being prosecuted. Despite the challenges, Mr. Onofri said his office has maintained a high rate of solving homicide cases.
He reported that regardless of state regulations passed for the distribution of pot, his office will step up school outreach programs to educate students about what he views to be a gateway drug.
Mr. Onofri told us that the infamous George Floyd case set back years of community relations developed by police departments, and the subsequent publicity has resulted in many resignations and retirements of superior officers. Many departments are now hiring police officers. Also, the state attorney general is urging the adoption of ICAT (Integrated Communications and Tactics), a training program that provides first responding police officers with the tools, skills, and options they need to successfully and safely defuse a range of critical incidents.
He also reported that, sadly, overdoses have spiked recently, many caused by fentanyl-laced drugs, including pot.
Prosecutor Onofri also took time to salute Immediate Past President Tom Damm for his excellent Rotary year, Joe Bellina for stepping up to be our Club President, Bill Coleman for his assignment as an Assistant Rotary District Governor, and for the club helping sponsor the recent NAMI Walk to foster mental health awareness.
(Pictured, from left, are Mr. Onofri and Club President Joe Bellina
2021 Banner Exchange Dinner
Some of our Club members and spouses enjoyed an evening out on Wednesday at the RotaryDistrict7475 2021 Banner Exchange Dinner in Florham Park, NJ. Lots of fun, fellowship and celebration was had. Interested in learning more about Rotary and the impact you can help us make globally? Visit us at www.rhrotary.org or www.njrotary.org for more information. (Thank you Peggy Krawiec Damm for the awesome pictures!)
Rotary Club members joined officers from the Robbinsville Police Department today at an event to demonstrate bike safety, have a meet and greet with RPD K-9s and collect bikes for the BGC Bike Exchange. Thanks to Lee Paroly for hosting us at Friendly’s restaurant. Volunteers from the Bike Exchange picked up 56 bikes and scooters.
Installation of Officers and Award Ceremony
Meeting Highlights 6/25/21
Meeting Highlights 6/18/21
Meeting Highlights 6/11/21
Meeting Highlights 6/4/21
Blue Jeans Go Green
Thank you for the incredible response to the Blue Jeans Go Green campaign sponsored by the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton. We collected 242 pairs of denim jeans that will be delivered to Cotton, Inc. to be recycled into building insulation or, for those with low cotton content, donated to charitable groups. Either way, they won’t end up as textile waste in a landfill. Nice job, everyone! And a special shout out to the Rotary Interact Club and the Green Team at Robbinsville High School. Combined, they accounted for more than 100 pairs of jeans in our drive that started on Earth Day.
Meeting Highlights 5/28/21
Club Donates to NAMI Mercer
Donation of $1,000 from the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton to NAMI Mercer to support the organization’s critical work in the Capital Region.
NAMI Walk 2021
Powerful and poignant messages yesterday at Rotary’s Stomp Out Stigma ceremony and awareness walk in Robbinsville. Thank you to Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri, NAMI Mercer and all of the law enforcement and advocacy speakers and walkers who joined the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton and Rotary District 7475 to lend their voices in promoting compassion, understanding and respect for those battling mental illness and substance use disorders. A big thanks to Rotarian Jodi Stephens of the Robbinsville Township Administration, who organized this special event that gave all who attended new insights into the struggle.
Check out the videos at https://www.facebook.com/RobbinsvilleHamiltonRotary
Member’s Volunteerism Yields Grant
Thank you to @AllstateFDN and Allstate volunteer Wayne Mernone for helping communities thrive by volunteering with us. We appreciate the efforts that helped us to receive a $500 @AllstateFDN Helping Hands Grant for our Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton Foundation Inc. to continue its good work.
Meeting Highlights 5/21/21
Megan’s Place Spring Cleanup
This morning a group of us from the Rotary Club of Robbinsville Hamilton went out to a special place to do a spring clean up and plant some flowers. Our Club responded to the brutal rape and murder of seven year old Megan Kanka by raising money, buying the home where this tragedy happened, demolishing it, and erecting this beautiful park we call Megan’s Place.
Meeting Highlights 5/14/21
1 Million Diapers Collected!
Two of our Rotarians visited the HomeFront Family Campus this morning after an invitation to help celebrate results of their Diaper Challenge. Considering that the original goal was 250,000 diapers and wipes, later increased to 500,000, those in attendance were pleasantly surprised at the final tally of over 1 million collected, including our club’s contribution. HomeFront founder Connie Mercer and New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy spoke about the importance of events like the Diaper Challenge.
Meeting Highlights – 5/7/21
Interact Club Goes Green, Collects Jeans
Our Rotary Interact Club at Robbinsville High School collected 85 pairs of jeans in a week!! Amazing work by these high school students involved in Interact! What is Interact you ask? Interact encourages students to take action, build international understanding, and make new friends around the world. Interact clubs bring together young people ages 12-18 to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of Service Above Self.
Meeting Highlights 4/30/21
4/23/21 Meeting Highlights
Earth Week Cleanup
Rotarians showed some Earth Week love today to the Robbinsville Clean Team, a group of civic-minded volunteers who meet each month to pick up litter around the township.
Dress for Success Donation
After today’s Rotary meeting, club Secretary Scott Biondi presented donation checks and sponsor forms to Melissa Tenzer, CEO of Dress For Success Central New Jersey, and Wayne Mernone, President of the Board of Directors of The Father Center of New Jersey. Wayne is also a proud Rotarian. We will be a Rock Sponsor for the Dress For Success Women’s Empowerment Breakfast on May 12, and a Storyteller Sponsor for The Father Center’s Platinum Dads event on June 19. Both events are fundraisers for these two great organizations which help those from challenging circumstances achieve success. For more information on the fundraisers and how to support the organizations, visit www.facebook.com/DressforSucessCentralNJ/ and www.thefathercenter.org.
Meeting Highlights 4/16/21
Dr. Scott Rocco, Superintendent of Schools for Hamilton Township
Meeting Highlights 3/26/21
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
Meeting Highlights 3/19/21
Meeting Highlights 3/12/21
Meeting Highlights 3/5/21
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
Rotarians Deliver Pajamas
Meeting Highlights 2/19/21
Meeting Highlights 2/12/21
Meeting Highlights 2/5/21
Meeting Highlights 1/29/21
Meeting Highlights 1/22/21
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.
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!
Shine and Inspire!
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.
To volunteer with or donate to Shine and Inspire, contact them on Facebook
, on their website www.shineandinspire.org, with email to email@example.com, or call Carol Feldman at (609)-841-9083.
Rotarians Ring the Bell
On Friday 12/18 and Saturday 12/19 Rotarians Rang the Bell for The Salvation Army Trenton Citadel Corps.
Rotarians – Holiday Elves 2020
12/11/20 Meeting Highlights
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.
Meeting Highlights 12/4/20
Santa Comes to Robbinsville
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
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
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
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
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
Meeting Highlights 11/6/2020
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
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!
Send Hunger Packing Food Drive at Foley’s
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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/
Looking to get involved locally with our “adult program”? Send an email to President@RHRotary.org for more information!
Rotary Sends Hunger Packing
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
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
We look forward to each of our new members helping us continue to serve the community.
Meeting Highlights 8/7/20
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-
Robbinsville Hamilton Rotarians and “Be Kind” Pack 5000 Meals
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meeting Highlights 7/17/2020
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
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.