Rotary Clubs: What They Do, And How They Do It

Yesterday’s “06880” highlighted the role that Westport’s Rotary clubs play, helping bring democratic values to Ukraine.

The Westport Rotary and Sunrise Rotary are 2 of the more than 35,000 Rotaries worldwide. The couple of hundred members are part of a global organization of 1.6 million. Their projects are international — like Ukraine — but much of their work takes place right here at home.

Westport Rotary was founded 100 years ago, in 1919. Its Sunrise sister is newer — it’s just 31 years old. Sunrise accommodates people who want to give back, but prefer breakfast meetings to midday.

Meetings include sharing of good news, guest speakers, and project plans. Recently, a member mentioned a wheelchair-bound World War II veteran whose home and yard needed major work. A dozen Rotarians spent 2 Saturdays getting it done. Their breaks were enriched by amazing stories of his D-Day landing at Normandy.

Many meetings include presentations by executives of non-profits. They share their organizations’ missions, accomplishments and needs. Club members are often inspired to help.

For example, Homes with Hope — which provides services and housing options to families and individuals seeking their way out of homelessness — is the recipient of monthly meal servings by Sunrise Rotary members. They also sponsor a July 4th barbecue, and food drive the day before the Super Bowl.

Rotary speakers have included the executive director of the Syria Fund, which provides education and assistance to refugees; the CEO of Norwalk’s Carver Foundation, who talked about the “opportunity gap” in education, and the headmaster of the Southport School, which educates students with dyslexia, and tied together the twin issues of incarceration and undiagnosed learning disabilities.

Of course, all of the Rotary Clubs’ charitable efforts cost money. Westporters are familiar with fundraisers like the Great Duck Race and LobsterFest.

Up next: Sunrise Rotary’s Uncorked Wine Tasting Gala.

Good times at last year’s Uncorked wine tasting, at the Inn at Longshore.

The event — set for this Friday (November 22, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., the Inn at Longshore) features 100 wines, craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks, all curated by Cory D’Addario of The Wine Company Westport (the new name for the old Liquor Locker). A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she is an expert at the synergy between wine and food.

On tap too: excellent hors d’oeuvres, authentic French breads, desserts and amazing chocolates. Full case beverages can be purchased for discounts.

Westport’s Rotary Clubs often operate under the radar. On Friday, you can get a great “taste” of their wonderful work.

(For tickets to the Uncorked Wine Tasting Gala, click here.)

Fairfield’s Isabelle et Vincent will provide authentic French baked goods.

7 responses to “Rotary Clubs: What They Do, And How They Do It

  1. Dan, thank you! Mike

  2. Thanks Dan for sharing the word about Rotary. I’d also like to promote their “little sister” in the Rotary family, which is my Norwalk Rotary club. We don’t have nearly the amount of resources or fundraising that the Westport clubs do, but we have our BIG fundraiser of the year, Cooking for Charity, tomorrow night at Aitoro’s in Norwalk. Details and tickets can be purchased at . At a $50 admission fee with all you can eat from 15 of Norwalk’s best restaurants and all the beer and wine you can drink, topped off with fine Italian pastries from Dolce, it’s the best bargain in town!!!

  3. Diana McDowell

    Dan, just a correction – Cory is a she, not a he. And I believe the new name is The Fine Wine Company (should double check that).

    Sent from my awesome iPhone 7 plus


  4. Arline Gertzoff

    Isn’t Cory a she ?

  5. Thank you Dan for sharing the background and history as well as in providing special recognition to both Westport Rotary organizations in the good work and service we continue to do in support of the community at large.

  6. Cory D’Addario

    It’s going to be a fabulous wine portfolio show that focuses on great taste, quality and the high standards we hold of sustainable, organic & biodynamic. Many wines will be available for Thanksgiving pick up, be sure to hand in your tasting sheets at the end of the evening.
    Cory Ann Daddario