The covid19 pandemic may have changed the way in which people operate, but that didn’t stop the members of the Rotary Club of St Augustine West from continuing with their philanthropic work.
“The Rotary theme for 2020-21 was Rotary Opens Opportunities, and in setting out the club’s plans for the Rotary year, we had continued projects and planned new projects that would emphasise this theme. However, with the advance of covid19 and all that it brought, we had to be innovative and very much forward thinking in our approach to our ongoing projects and fundraising to finance these projects,” club president Curtis Gopie said.
He said because most of the initial plans for fundraisers involved in-person gatherings, they were unable to host them because of the pandemic restrictions that prevented such gatherings.
“We received our first break from the covid situation and were able to host a very small barbeque at the end of November 2020. Funds from this event were used to purchase Christmas lights for two trees at the Eric Williams Medical Science Complex, adjacent to the Wendy Fitzwilliam Children’s Hospital.”
The club also concluded the first phase of enhancement work at the children’s hospital, installing characters at the front of the hospital, repainting the hospital front with the assistance of North Central Regional Health Authority, and installing murals in the lobby area to one of the medical paediatric wards.
[caption id="attachment_904045" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The front entrance of the Wendy Fitzwilliam Children's Hospital in Mt Hope was treated to a paint job courtesy the Rotary Club of St Augustine West. -[/caption]
Eventually, Gopie said, the club started receiving numerous requests from individuals within its community for food items and financial aid, among them members of the entertainment industry.
“As president of the club, I knew many entertainers and artistes had assisted our club in raising funds over the years, including the virtual Soca in White boat ride which was aired on January 2 and was also streamed to Canada, the US and Europe.”
Soca in White was also showcased on TTT, Wack TV, Synergy TV and on Tempo International Channel. He said because Carnival 2021 had been cancelled, this fundraiser was the club’s way of showcasing, on an international scale, the culture of TT, providing an income for those who performed, and to continue its enhancement work at the children’s hospital.
“We were able to achieve the first two goals listed above through our kind sponsors. However, funds realised from the project were slender.” The new reality of virtual learning brought challenges to many students whose parents are unable to afford devices, and the club stepped into help.
“So, through our generous sponsors at Scotiabank, we were able to assist children in two phases…In total we were able to assist over 125 students.”
The club continued its philanthropic drive by donating wheelchairs to two people and distributi