The Kutztown Rotary Charitable Foundation and Rotary Club of Kutztown held their Foundation Dinner at the Kutztown Tavern on Nov. 20, celebrating more than $20,000 donated by the Club and Foundation to area non-profit organizations.
Representatives from the non-profit groups were invited to attend the festivities which included dinner and a program explaining Rotary Club services and fundraising activities of the Club and Foundation. Invited participants then addressed club members on behalf of their organization while receiving their gift from Foundation President Christine Williams.
The Kutztown Rotary Club participates in both international and local charitable and volunteer contributions annually. At the local level, members of the Kutztown Rotary Club participate in Student of the Month for Brandywine and Kutztown high schools, community activities through Kutztown Community Partnership and community clean-up events, local food bank events through Friend and Opportunity House, and The Potato Project. The Club also sponsors student programs for academic scholarships and leadership training as well as Farmers’ Night to show appreciation to local farmers.
The major fundraiser of the Kutztown Rotary Club to support community donations this year was the Taste of Kutztown along with its Run for the Wine event held in June 2019. At the Foundation Dinner, Rotarians celebrated their chosen local charities with nine representatives from local non-profits who were in attendance.
Invited guests summarized the work of their respective non-profit and highlighted the future needs of the organization.
Local libraries were represented by Catherine Ruhf for Kutztown and Sandy Cullin of Brandywine who both discussed the many programs their libraries have for members of all ages from children to adults.
Nancy Hildenbrand represented the Kutztown Historical Society and informed the group that the Society is currently working on a project to recover an historical Kutztown pumper vehicle in conjunction with the Kutztown Fire Company.
Two social service agencies were present. Friend, Inc represented by Keith Rorhbach, serves greater than 1,000 people a year, mainly through their food pantry and the satellite student food pantry at Kutztown University. Allentown Rescue Mission, represented by Rosaria Stoops, hosts a 60-bed residential facility serving three meals a day and has been in existence since 1900 (the earliest non-profit in this area).
Chief Jason Robinson of the Topton Fire Company discussed the organization’s new programs designed to more closely interact with community members and John Santa Barbara of the American Red Cross talked about a few of the local programs of the organization including blood drives and CPR- and babysitter-training programs.
Two newer non-profit organizations heading into their 5-year mark are local substance abuse prevention organizations Kutztown Strong represented by Kelly Neyhart and Brandywine Heights Community Task Force, represented by Lyndsay Levengood. Both organizations discussed outreach education programs for schools and after-school programs. Kutztown Strong also highlighted a new program to include families of students at risk.
Recipients unable to attend the event were Kutztown and Lyons Fire Companies, Burn Prevention Network, IHartHarvest (for the Potato Project), Kutztown Community Choir, ShelterBox USA, and Topton Mini Museum.
In addition to these donations, the Kutztown Rotary also awards scholarships to a student each from Kutztown High School and Brandywine Heights Area High School and provides monetary and volunteer support throughout the year to other community organizations.