Editor’s Note: This continues our Celebrate Community series on nonprofit organizations that improve North Okaloosa County residents’ quality of life.
CRESTVIEW — The Rotary Club of Crestview is working on several concurrent goals through 2018.
The nonprofit's most important goal right now, though, is helping people affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Discussing the matter at the group's Sept. 7 meeting in Crestview, Rotary President Samma Brannon said clothes are no longer needed because people have donated plenty of those. They are accepting other items, such as:
Donors may drop off items at the Hub City Smokehouse, which is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at 168 Main St. S, Crestview. They should drop off larger items such as multiple water bottle packages behind the business.
Several donations were sorted and prepared for Texas delivery by Sept. 7. Rotarians were waiting to hear from Texas members about coordinating delivery efforts.
"If we do not hear from a fellow club, then we will coordinate with another organization in the area. Also, if we do not find a way to get the donations sent, then we have several members who are willing to drive them there personally," Rotary Public Relations Officer Holly Willey said.
Group members also helped manage the storm shelter for people affected by Hurricane Irma the weekend of Sept. 10 at Shoal River Middle School in Crestview.
PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
Area residents may not be aware of the club's other activities. That general lack of community knowledge of what the organization does, as well as a lack of younger generation members and quiet community doings are three of the issues the club faces, according to Willey.
"Our club is here to help our community grow and prosper and we want to help make that happen, however we are needed," she said.
The organization's international goal for the 2017-18 year has an environmental focus. Members will embody the year's theme of Making a Difference by planting a tree for each of its 1.2 million members through Earth Day, which is April 22, 2018. The tree planting program is part of its sustainable efforts to protect the environment and curb climate change.
On a local level, the club is continuing its annual events, and even expanding some of them.
•This month they will present area third-graders with a dictionary of their very own, and a copy of the U.S. Constitution to seventh-graders in Okaloosa and Walton schools. They have presented over 20,000 books to children since the program began.
•They will participate in the United Way's 'Day of Caring, a volunteer effort.
•They and Interact, the Crestview High School's Rotary Club, will provide a float for the school's homecoming parade.
•The next Wild Game Feast, wherein members raised more than $120,000 to Northwest Florida State College programs, is undergoing a name and venue change.
•People will be able to buy one ticket for a 30-day drawing in the March Grand Gift Giveaway, where one gift package worth $250 or more will be given to a winner each day of that month. Fundraisers such as these provide support for scholarships, charities and residents in need.
October events include a booth and hay bale contest for the Crestview Fall Festival, set for 1-6 p.m. Oct. 28 on Main Street; and a cooking class for people who use food pantries.
"The Fall Festival is going to take a lot of coordinating since we have so much going on during it, as well as the preparations that need to be made," Willey said.