By Elisabeth Sherwin
Member Kevin Whiteford was instrumental in organizing two service projects, both of which helped at-risk populations in Kenya: senior citizens and children.
“Our first project two years ago came after I talked to a Willett Elementary School assembly about sending eyeglasses to Kenya,” he said. “The kids could raise $2 to send a pair of glasses to seniors who needed them — it was a good program to get kids involved in.”
A total of 500 pairs of glasses were collected by Davis students and sent overseas to senior citizens in the program aided by Friends of the Old and the International Water and Health Alliance.
This was so successful, that — encouraged by a student who stood up in an assembly and asked, “Can we send books?” — the next project was a book drive.
Davis and Woodland schools donated books and a friend in West Sacramento donated a warehouse to keep and pallet the books before they were sent to Africa. We’re talking 12,000 books.
“We could not have done this without Rotary here and Rotary there helping out,” Whiteford said.
Another smaller project involved sending water filters to Mexico working with a Bakersfield Rotary club.
Is Whiteford planning to continue working on international projects when he assumes the mantle of president on July 12? Not so much.
“I haven’t planned on working on international projects while president,” he said. “But there are plenty of local projects.”
Whiteford said he would talk to the membership to see what they might be interested in doing, from organizing bone marrow transfer donations to helping foster youths in Davis.
Founding member Lou Ziskind summed up his feelings about Sunset Rotary.
“Not to repeat a cliché, but it’s a family of people who come together to enjoy fellowship and provide service. It’s a relaxed club,” he added. “We work as a team implementing projects.”