Posted by Harry Short
There was a lot to celebrate at Kyrene Rotary’s 15th anniversary dinner in December 2019: years of monthly community service; anticipation of our Third Annual Golf Classic fund-raiser; a relatively new 501c3 foundation to safeguard our growing income and charity awards; our two 2019-20 high school youth exchange students; and our always-up-to-date website detailing weekly programs, and monthly plans and community service commitments.
By the end of 2019 we had completed providing dictionaries and teaching their use to 1,128 third graders in the Phoenix Roosevelt School District and were preparing for our sixth STEM program at Kyrene del Pueblo Middle School that would start in January.  For eight weeks our nine volunteers would be “coaching” 24 students in building and then testing and reporting on the mechanical performance of electric cars.  In January we also helped build a house with Habitat For Humanity; and sorted donated schools supplies with Treasures 4 Teachers.  February was intense with the STEM program, early March included packing food bags for first responders with The United Food Bank of Arizona.  Oh, the good old days!
  And then       THE REALITY OF COVID HIT!
In mid-March we exchanged our weekly luncheon meeting for a weekly virtual (ZOOM) meeting and all other club events and activities were SHUT DOWN.  This suspension included the in-process STEM student project and all scheduled community service events, as well as our annual Golf Classic fundraiser.  Wonderfully, nearly all the sponsors and participants in the Golf Classic left their money with us for the future!
It was not until September that we put our community service toe back in the water by delivering dictionaries to third grade schools in the Roosevelt School District, although we were not allowed to meet with or teach the children in person.  In October we had a small emergency food-bag packing event with United Food Bank.
We resumed a robust schedule of community service events in November 2020.  The number of volunteers per event is limited by each charity, masks and social distancing are used, and the first four events were outside or in a large warehouse. 
11/21/20 - 8 of us packed Thanksgiving Dinner food bags with Feed Our Babies
12/14/20 – 11 of us packed Christmas dinner food bags with United Food Bank
1/16 /21 – 5 of us painted a house with Habitat For Humanity
2/27/21 – 8 of us sorted donated school supplies with Treasures 4 Teachers
3/20/21 - 5 of us will return to a Habitat house to install cabinets and trim
4/24/21 – 8 of us will return to Treasures 4 Teachers for additional sorting
And WE WILL hold our long-delayed 3rd Annual Golf Classic on May 8, 2021!
By quickly switching our weekly meetings to Zoom during the 2020-21 COVID year, we were able to both retain members and maintain attendance.  This also allowed the club to bring in distant as well as local program speakers, provide social contact for isolated members and, together with our excellent website and strong history and schedule of service events, actually increase our membership during this unnatural period!  Our ongoing fundraising, stewardship and strong personal relationships with sponsors and charities is allowing us to swiftly resume our philanthropic activities.  Our charities and club remain dedicated to limiting attendance at events, practicing all CDC-recommended safety rules, and selecting outside venues whenever possible.  We look forward to and are confident in our future!