Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of our Charter (July 31, 2001)
20 weeks of "TBT" memories
Week #20 (December 23, 2021)
    In February 2020 we held what was to be the last (but not the final!) in-person “Taste of Italy” Pasta Dinner just one month before the COVID pandemic started to shut everything down.  Starting in March 2020 and continuing through 2021 all weekly, Board and committee meetings were switched from in-person to virtual, using the ZOOM video meeting platform.  While it was frustrating to not be able to meet in person, it did provide the opportunity for members who could not otherwise attend a weekly meeting to do so, and in fact our attendance increased!  Our 2020-2021 President, Russ Powell, had the distinction of having been the President for an entire Rotary year with no in-person meetings, only virtual. COVID could not stop our efforts though to support worthy organizations, it just forced us to become more creative. 
   The Tour de Guelph was changed from a 1-day to a month-long event where individuals could register, fundraise and ride a route of their choice in a safe, physically distanced manner. People were also welcomed to walk or participate using their home exercise bikes and equipment. An ambitious fundraising goal of $100,000 was set, and from Sunday June 28th to Sunday July 26th, close to 300 riders and walkers came together, in spirit and in cause, and fundraised an amazing $105,000 in donations. Sponsorship support covered the expenses, which meant the entire $105,000 was able to go to support Guelph General Hospital and Rotary projects.
    The Volunteer Appreciation Brunch, originally scheduled for April 2020 during Volunteer Month, was postponed to September 2020.  With the continuing support of the corporate sponsors, a virtual celebration was held where representatives from the 10 organizations being honoured attended to accept our congratulations and thanks, with $1,000 e-transferred to each organization. COVID made it more important than ever to be able to support these organizations and ensure that they received the funds before the end of 2020!
    Our first online silent auction took place in November 2020.  A club member, Sharron Riley-Persson, had generously donated a large collection of 102 Christmas nutcrackers. Thanks to that donation, and in-kind contributions of services, $8600 was raised of which $4000 went to Habitat for Humanity and the balance to Rotary Club of Guelph South projects. The nutcrackers were displayed in a vacant storefront in downtown Guelph, professionally staged and photographed for the online auction.  Each nutcracker was accompanied by a note explaining its history and age.  Community members had a chance to have one of the nutcrackers, Merlin the magician, and his bodyguard in their garden for a photo-op leading up to the end of the auction.  The success of this first effort led to a second online silent Valentine-themed auction in February 2021 in lieu of an in-person pasta dinner – another successful effort thanks to the donations of goods and services, resulting in $8000 being raised supporting Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre and other Rotary projects.
Nov 1 2020 - Club President Russ Powell + member Sharron Riley-Persson at launch of the Nutcracker Fundraiser, at the Wyndham Street storefront with the nutcrackers on display
Nov 2020 - youngsters admiring the nutcrackers on display at the Wyndham Street storefront
June 2020 - charter member Frank Oudesluys doing his fundraising ride for virtual Tour de Guelph
Russell Hampton
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