District 6900 has a long history of serving the world through our Global Grants. Our financial contributions support other parts of our country, the Caribbean and the world when disaster strikes. This time around Southwest Georgia hard hit by COVID-19. And District 6900 received a $25,000 COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant from The Rotary Foundation. Money from the Foundation's recently created Disaster Relief Fund made it possible for this grant to (in the words of Americus Rotarian Reda Rowell) "provide us an amazing opportunity to bring relief to strained, or impossible, budgets. The supplies not only represent care and concern, they most likely saved lives in this region that has been hit so hard by the often deadly coronavirus."
District Governor Nominee Mary Ligon led the collaborative effort to get this grant and has coordinated with local businesses and our Rotary clubs - including Albany, Americus, Bainbridge, Cordele, Cuthbert, Moultrie, Pelham and Thomasville - to distribute hand sanitizer and face shields that would make a huge difference. "We appreciate the leadership of Mary Ligon in spearheading the grant
application process and the efforts of local Rotary clubs across the region to
help those in need.”
The products these Rotary Clubs are distributing have been made or sold by local businesses:
- The hand sanitizer comes from Pretoria Fields Collective, a brewery in Albany, Georgia that was quick to pivot its business to fill this critical needs. Pretoria's CEO is a new member of the Dougherty County Rotary Club.
- In Americus, the 220 face shields distributed were manufactured by TSG Resolute in Americus and the 25 N95 face shields were purchased at Shiver Lumber in Americus.
Mary Ligon has been able to work with each of the participating Rotary Clubs to identify the specific needs in their communities:
- Moultrie Rotarians delivered hand sanitizer to the Moutrie Police and Fire Departments, Colquitt County Sheriff's Office, the Colquitt County Volunteer Firefighters' Association, and the police departments of Norman Park, Berlin and Doerun
- The Rotary Club of Cuthbert delivered hand sanitizer to city and county police, sheriff and fire departments in Randolph and Terrell Counties, and to the city halls in Cuthbert and Shellman, the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, and Georgia State Patrol Post #39.
- Albany provided hand sanitizer to The ARC of Southwest Georgia (an advocate for individuals with disabilities) and is waiting to hear from the Phoebe Health system about what items would be most beneficial for their facilities in Southwest Georgia.
- Americus distributed supplies to 14 Sumter County agencies and organizations including police, sheriff and fire departments as well as nursing homes, medical facilities, a church and the homeless shelter.
- Bainbridge, Cordele and Pelham are also distributing hand sanitizer to first responders in their communities, and Thomasville is assessing community needs.
The individuals and clubs involved in this special disaster relief effort are unanimous in their appreciation for this grant. Moultrie President Elect Jaclyn Donovan said, "Our community has been appreciative of any and every little bit of support it can get. I think it means a lot for these First responder/law enforcement agencies to know that someone else is trying to look after them too." Cuthbert President Wynita Cannon said, "It is an honor and privilege to belong to an amazing group of humanitarians that pull together in a time of need."
And Americus Rotarian Reda Rowell summed it all up by saying, "The ability to serve our community, especially these front line heroes, is a source of great pride for our entire club and has given us the opportunity to spread the love and care of Rotary in a special way. Every recipient is so very deserving of this support and each one has been extremely appreciative. Their work during this time has been intense and emotional, and just knowing that others recognize their efforts and care for them has been almost overwhelming at times. One agency said that vendors are not returning their calls and without community support, they don’t know what they would have done. Our club has worked diligently to stay aware of our community needs during this time and to respond where possible."
District 6900's Disaster Relief Grant brings The Rotary Foundation's goals and ideals into our own back yards and displays a "homegrown" sample of our Rotarians and Foundation at work. This is one big reason so many of our Clubs are strong supporters of The Rotary Foundation.