Welcome to 2021 - Happy New Year Rotarians!
Though the effects of COVID will be with us for quite some time, there is something magical about a new year.  A new beginning, closing the chapter – and moving forward.  I pray that your 2021 is full of health, happiness, and joy!
I do have some joyous stories to share with you from December. I put out a call to action to you, and the responses blew me away!  
The first was for Salvation Army Mesa.  They were working on their Christmas Angel project, when many of their employees became ill with COVID. Due to the sudden shortage of team members, they didn’t have anyone to sort the toys within the warehouse.  When they reached out to us, and we shared the need, you instantly responded.  I can’t thank you enough!  Rotarians jumped into action, and many of you showed up and saved the day for families all across Arizona, sorting and packing Christmas gifts to be given to those in need!
Then, I met a remarkable man on a mission named Bernard White who has worked with Club Rotario de Phoenix.  He has created a non-profit called Free Fresh.  It gives people a free fresh start whether through food donations, bill pay help, healthcare, and so much more.  He planned a food distribution day in Apache Junction, Avondale, Guadalupe and Coolidge. Through a partnership with Shamrock Foods, each food box is $1.00, and contains fresh apples, chicken, bread, beans, milk, yogurt, cheese – so many great items.  I asked if we could raise $3,000 for this food distribution.  In less than 3 hours – you gave $4,000!  We were able to provide thousands of meals that day and the next!  Thank you Rotarians in D5495!
In addition, the Interact Ambassadors shipment was sent and arrived in Mexico with over hundreds of used mobility devices that our Interactors and YOU donated.  Our friends in District 4185 can now begin the process to distribute them and we will be sending our ambassador team this summer to participate. We will share photos as they are available.  Thank you to all who donated!
Finally, we were able to raise the funds needed to install a S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) lab within a school that reaches over 20% home insecure students and 100% below the poverty line.  The STEAM lab will be installed within the month.  Once the students are able to return to school, they will have a much-needed outlet to learn.
Rotarians – you rose up in 2020, and gave….gave…..and gave more.  You gave of your time, your strengths, friendship, and finances.  I say this often, but it is a true honor to be serving with each of you.
As we enter into 2021, we have six months remaining in this Rotary year.  We are at half-time.  Let’s continue to open opportunities for those around us and each other.  We are behind what we normally give to the Rotary Foundation and our fight to end Polio.  Please consider making a gift to support the engine behind all that we do.  https://www.rotary.org/en/donate
The success of our Rotary clubs comes from the focus on what we CAN do, and not on what is missing during these crazy times.  Let us continue that into 2021!
Blessings to you all,
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Elizabeth Mahoney
District Governor, Rotary District 5495, 2020-2021
Rotary Club of Sun City