Giving back in Springfield and beyond

Giving back in Springfield and beyond
Lori Hammel

Lori Hammel

At Eighteen21 we believe in investing in our community. Springfield, Illinois, has a vast number of organizations and individuals that continually give back to those in need of a little extra help. One of those organizations is Rotary Club of Springfield South. We spoke to the newly elected president, Lori Hammel, who joined Rotary in 2010, about the group’s activity and the work it’s doing in the community. 

What is Rotary? 
Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated human rights purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a secular organization open to all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference. There are over 34,000 clubs worldwide. 1.2 million Rotarians are members of these clubs. Rotary International and its Foundation are among the most respected charitable organizations in the world. On the international front, one of the major initiatives that Rotary has taken on is to be instrumental in the fight to rid the world of polio. Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have made major contributions to Rotary in support of these efforts.

What part does Rotary Club of Springfield South play in the bigger picture - that is Rotary International? 
Rotary Club Springfield South is one of the worldwide Rotary Clubs. Our club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016, supports the efforts of Rotary International by raising money to fight polio and other humanitarian needs throughout the world. We raise money that is distributed to a wide variety of local non-profits as well. Club members also participate in a number of hands-on service projects that benefit many local organizations.
 
What is the mission of Rotary Club of Springfield South? 
Our club’s mission is reflected in its dedication to Rotary’s principle motto, which is Service Above Self. And each year, Rotary International has a different theme. This year, the theme is Rotary Serving Humanity. Our club and its members strive to live up to these ideals in everything we do. A great way to learn more about our club is to visit our Facebook Page, which is Rotary Club of Springfield South (Illinois). We also have a website www.rotarysouth-spi.org. 

How many members does Rotary Club of Springfield South have?  
The club currently has 35 members.
 
What activities and/or fundraisers has Rotary Club of Springfield South been involved with over the past year? 
In the past year our club has participated in the annual Salvation Army bell-ringing, Forget-Me-Not days for the Alzheimer’s Association, volunteered at the Central Illinois Food Bank, provided sweatshirts for local needy students, prepared meals for families at the Ronald McDonald house, and helped to restore the conservation area at Henson-Robinson Zoo. One of the club’s ongoing efforts is that every week club members deliver “Daily Bread” meals to local residents through the Senior Services of Central Illinois meals program. This past year, we also sponsored an exchange student from France, who was in the local community for almost an entire year.
 
Can I attend a meeting of Rotary Club of Springfield South without being a member? 
Absolutely, we welcome guests to attend one of our meetings and check us out. Each meeting has a variety of regular announcements and updates about club happenings. Members take turns arranging for speakers to come to our club each week to tell us about their organization, business, or hobby. Our meetings are a great way to get plugged into the local community, network and meet new people, and learn about interesting topics. Club meetings have a lively, fun atmosphere. We don’t take ourselves too seriously yet we are serious about what we are doing to help make a difference in our local community and beyond.
 
How do I join Rotary Club of Springfield South? 
If you are interested in joining our club, you will be put in contact with our club secretary, who will provide you with a membership application and other membership information.
 
How can I ask for help for my organization/non-profit - from Rotary Club of Springfield South? 
One of the best ways to ask for help is to attend one of our meetings as a speaker so that the club members can learn about your organization - what its needs are, and how our club can possibly help, either with money or manpower. Our club distributes local grants to a number of organizations each year, and we become aware of many of the grant recipients through our weekly meeting speaker programs.
 
Who is currently on the board of Rotary Club of Springfield South and what are their roles? 
Current board members are Lori Hammel, president, Eloise Baird, president-elect, Cheri Plummer, treasurer, Brian Schutz, secretary, Dan O’Brien, membership, Lee Malany, foundation, Darin Dame, service and Andy Dickerson immediate past president.
 
 
Why did you decide to join Rotary Club of Springfield South - and why have you remained involved? 
Rotary provides me with an opportunity to be involved with an organization that does work on both the local as well as the international front, which really appeals to me. Rotary gives every member the ability to make their participation level something that works for them – you can keep it at a very local level or there certainly are ways to take your Rotary involvement all the way up to international efforts if this is what interests you. The more I learned (and continue to learn) about Rotary and the good work it does, the more committed I have become to Rotary and its mission. This is in addition to the many new friends and contacts I have made, and the myriad of interesting things I have learned about our community as well as the world, through my involvement in Rotary.
 
Do you have any upcoming events/fundraisers for Rotary Club of Springfield South? 
Our primary fundraiser is our annual citrus sales, which fund our local grant distributions. Beginning in fall, we sell delicious oranges and grapefruit by the case. Our citrus comes directly from Indian River in Florida. Indian River is one of the most highly regarded citrus areas of the country and the grapefruit is considered the best in the world. The fruit is delivered in mid-December. We are very flexible on the sales; you can buy half or quarter cases, or you can buy citrus and donate it to the Food Bank if you do not want it for yourself. The best way to find out when we start to sell citrus is by liking our Facebook page as we will promote our citrus sales here.
 
Last year we started a Rotary South Trivia Night, which was very successful, and we are going to make it an annual event. This year’s trivia night is Saturday, November 12th and will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Meadowbrook Rood. Everyone is welcome to get a team table together or contact our club and we will place you on a team. Proceeds from trivia night also go toward our local grants.
 
When and where does Rotary Club of Springfield South meet? 
Rotary South meets on Thursdays, noon to 1pm, at Engrained Brewery Co. (next to Scheels).
 
How much will it cost meet be a member of Rotary Club of Springfield South? 
Dues are $140 per year and are billed quarterly. Weekly club meals are approximate $12; this includes lunch, beverage, dessert, and gratuity.
 
Can I make a donation to Rotary Club of Springfield South and if so how? 
Sure. Donations to either our local club or Rotary International Foundation are welcome. The best way to make a donation is to contact a board member or me. You can call me on 217-741-6656. Please do not hesitate to call if you would like to know more about Rotary Club of Springfield South.