Members of the Rotary Club of St. Augustine recently launched the organization’s newest initiative to commemorate the Club’s centennial anniversary with a program to help unemployed and furloughed workers in St. Johns County. Relief in the form of Publix supermarket gift cards will be distributed to individuals and families in need. Due to the pandemic, the Club’s 100th anniversary year gala event was cancelled and ticket sales plus sponsorships and member donations were converted into more than $20,000 in gift cards with additional funding support. To date, the Club has received more than 70 applications for assistance and further requests are expected.
For more information, contact Committee Chair Dan Hilbert via email at [email protected] All applicants must identify their contacts at the local Rotary Club, a Rotary affiliated business, or a Rotary funded nonprofit. Gift cards will be given to recipients after verification of the application on a first come first serve basis.
According to Peggy Gachet, Rotary Club of St. Augustine’s President, the organization will continue to raise money in hopes of supporting the much-needed program. “For more than 100 years, Rotary members have used their passion, energy, and intelligence with a dedication to sustainable projects. From local literacy programs and goodwill activities, to water and health interests in the region, we are always working to better our world and our communities,” said Gachet.
Gachet added, that although the gala event was cancelled, the club is approaching the charitable giving challenge with the same determination shown in supporting those in need during the past 100 years.
All donations to the new initiative will be 100 percent tax deductible as the Rotary Club of St. Augustine Foundation will receive the funds and purchase the gift cards. Current sponsors include the Saint Augustine Independent Restaurant Association (SAIRA); The Raintree Restaurant; Peggy Gachet, Broker-Associate with Watson Realty Corp.; Christine Matthaei, Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services; Nissan of St. Augustine; The Bailey Group; W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc.; Matanzas Law, and St. Johns Law Group. Additionally, many Gala ticket purchasers graciously waived their refunds and donated to the cause. The Club also transferred funds from its reserves account to kick off the program.
The Rotary Club of St. Augustine meets every Monday from 12 pm until 1 pm at the Casa Monica Hotel located in downtown St. Augustine. Meetings are slated to resume when pandemic restrictions are lifted. The Club is dedicated to making a difference in the Nation’s Oldest City and beyond with fundraising and volunteerism for community and social service agencies. The club was founded through the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Jacksonville, Fla. Later, the St. Augustine Club sponsored the Rotary Club of Hastings, the Sunrise Rotary Club, St. Augustine Beach Rotary Club, Daytona Beach Rotary Club, and Rotary Club of Flagler County.
“Our club history began with weekly meetings at Trinity Parish Hall in downtown St. Augustine and at several hotels around the city during the off-season,” according to Dr. Susan Parker, Club member and historian. “Some of our longtime members are still attending meetings and remain active in club business.”
“For decades our club has made substantial financial contributions to worthy projects locally and internationally. We are proud and pleased to initiate the gift card program with Publix,” said Gachet. As Rotarians, members are dedicated to the organization’s international motto, “Service Above Self.”