Rotary helps underprivileged children and tsunami victims

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 29, 2005

Suffolk News-Herald

Children at home and across the globe are getting a little help from a friend – the Suffolk Rotary Club.

At its last meeting, the organization donated $2,500 each to the Suffolk Cheer Fund, which provides Christmas toys for underprivileged children, and Rotary International’s tsunami relief fund.

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&uot;The tsunami is a special needs situation,&uot; said Everett Birdsong, club spokesman. &uot;We wanted to help to help the tsunami victims.

&uot;Helping others is what Rotary is all about.&uot;

The club sponsors several fundraisers throughout the year, including the club’s annual First Citizen banquet, raffling a Harley Davidson motorcycle and its annual Cheer Fund auction.

The club invests 75 percent of its proceeds into the local community; and the remaining 25 percent is earmarked for international projects, Birdsong said.

Other organizations, business and local residents – old and young alike – have dug deep into their

pockets to help victims devastated by the deadly Dec. 26, 2004

tsunami, said Donna Perry, spokeswoman for the Suffolk chapter of the American Red Cross.

Suffolk people have contributed more than $12,000 to the agency’s tsunami recovery program, Perry said. Between contributions to the American Red Cross and its sister organization, the Red Crescent, people worldwide have raised $1.2 billion.

&uot;We are no longer actively fund raising for the tsunami victims,&uot; Perry said. &uot;The agency believes the $1.2 billion will not only meet the immediate needs of victims but also their needs for the next decade.&uot;

People were also generous in their giving to the Cheer Fund, helping push the fund over its $40,000 goal, said Andy Prutsok, publisher of the Suffolk New-Herald, which sponsors the fundraiser.