Sunrise Rotarians donate to food bank

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Outreach for Hunger’s Brenda LeClair accepts a $7,000 donation from the Chatham Sunrise Rotary Club that began with a $500 donation from a club member who wished to remain anonymous. Presenting the funds were project organizer Roger McRae, member John Schinkel and club president Ken Bechard.

It began with one man’s idea, and quickly spiraled into a $7,000 donation to a local food bank.

Chatham Sunrise Rotarians teamed up with Schinkels’ Gourmet Meats, and Schinkel’s Legacy Meats to place needed items on the shelves of Outreach for Hunger.

Rotarian Roger McRae spearheaded the program, after an anonymous member came forward with a wish.

“One of our Rotarians suggested he was going to get some cash for Christmas from his family members. He wanted to donate to the Rotary Club for a donation to the food bank,” McRae said. “That member doesn’t want any recognition, so we picked up the project from there.”

He added that when a club member donated, the Sunrise club would match the donation. And then the Schinkels family got involved.

“We went to Schinkels’ Gourmet Meats and John (Schinkel) boosted it up by getting some suppliers to kick in. Then Schinkel’s Legacy donated a bunch of hams to the project,” McRae said.

John Schinkel, a fellow Sunrise Rotarian, said a quick phone call to Brenda LeClair, executive director of Outreach for Hunger, helped tailor the donation to what the food bank really needed.

“We raised some money and I called and asked her what they needed. I then went to my suppliers and told them what we were doing,” he explained.

Schinkel also reached out to his nephews that run Schinkel’s Legacy, and the next thing they knew, 40 hams were part of the donation.

“We topped it up with about 750 pounds of hamburger,” he said.

LeClair was amazed at the tally, which reached an estimated $7,000 in value.

“It’s good quality protein,” she said of all the donated meat. “This was very generous. It was wonderful when they all pulled up here. The hamburger and hams are a special treat.”

The timing is great as well, LeClair added, as inventory was in decline.

“We had a great Christmas, but our numbers are really escalating,” she said of the need in the community. “We’re going through food pretty fast.”

McRae said the final tally from a 24-member club was impressive.

“I was just amazed at how the club members stepped up,” he said.

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