North Haven Rotary Serves Food, Fellowship, Friendship, and Fun to Community

The collage demonstrates the busy scene at St. John's Episcopal Church as the North Haven Rotary Club provides one of its Friday night Community Suppers.

The collage demonstrates the busy scene at St. John’s Episcopal Church as the North Haven Rotary Club provides one of its Friday night Community Suppers.

North Haven’s St. John’s Episcopal Church at 3 Trumbull Place offers Community Suppers every Friday evening during the school year from 6-7 pm for anyone in the community interested in a nutritious hot meal served by volunteers from the area. This year, the North Haven Rotary Club has pledged to provide and serve a full course meal once a month. Rotarians Theresa Ranciato-Viele and Deana Morin have been key coordinators of the effort this year. Rotary President Debbie Volain stated that the culinary event is particularly popular on these cold winter nights, adding that the atmosphere is “warm with fellowship and friendship, and the quality time spent with friends and neighbors is just plain fun”.

North Haven Rotarian Dr. Richard Bassett, Governor of Rotary District 7980, posed for a photo with a Master Butcher for Fairfield Whole Foods where two large hams were generously discounted for the January 17th Community Supper in North Haven.

North Haven Rotarian Dr. Richard Bassett, Governor of Rotary District 7980, posed for a photo with a Master Butcher for Fairfield Whole Foods where two large hams were generously discounted for the January 17th Community Supper in North Haven.

Ham was the main course at the mid-January feast thanks to Rotarian Jonathan Martinek. The Culinary Demonstration Specialist delivered and baked two large hams that he had purchased on behalf of the Rotary club from his place of employment, Fairfield Whole Foods, at a greatly reduced price. According to Martinek, the Fairfield store provided the ham to the service club at a price below their cost. He said, “When I told the guys in the meat department about the purpose of the supper they agreed to sell them to us below their cost, saving us approximately $105.” The club later learned that the leftovers were donated to an interfaith relief organization known as Midnight Run which distributes food, clothing, blankets, and personal care items to the homeless in New Haven.

Also present at the time of the purchase was Dr. Richard Bassett, the Governor of Rotary District 7980, who was there in his official capacity because the Whole Foods store on Fairfield’s Grasmere Avenue had pledged 5% of their total sales on January 15th to the Fairfield Rotary Club’s designated charity, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. Martinek reported that “The Whole Foods check to BRM will be $3,700, the largest 5% day we have had since the Fairfield store opened. I personally saw 4 shopping carts overflowing with donations of canned goods and other necessary items, as well. Thank you to everyone who supported this cause!”

Text and photos courtesy of Rotarians David Marchesseault & Jonathan Martinek

Select photos from 6 Rotary Club Holiday Parties this week in D7980

North Haven Rotary – On Saturday 12/14/2013 five other Rotary Clubs cancelled their parties but North Haven Rotary held theirs during the nastiest of nights above the North Haven Funeral Home. The party was hosted by The Havens and Catered by Anthony’s in New Haven.

Westport Rotary – Tuesday 12/17 was another snowy Connecticut Day but that didn’t stop the Westport Rotary Club from hosting the Orphenians during their Holiday luncheon. Attendees were treated to fantastic music as well as a delicious lunch.

Norwalk Rotary – Norwalk Rotarians turned out in big numbers at the Norwalk Inn yesterday for lunch to enjoy the spirited performance by the Norwalk High School Chamber Singers.

Old Saybrook Rotary – The Club held their Holiday gathering at the Hideway in Old Lyme last night. Gerri Lewis organized a rather elaborate grab bag swap, delicious meals (too bad I couldn’t stay for that) and a nice cocktail fellowship before the meeting. It’s always a pleasure visiting OSR!!

East Hampton & East Haddam Rotary – the two Club’s came together for a joint Holiday party last night at the Gelston House in East Haddam for a very big turnout with excellent fellowship, music, food and recognitions.

North Haven Rotary Honors Veterans at Pancake Breakfast

The Fifth Annual Pancake Breakfast was held yesterday, the day before Veterans Day, as the North Haven Rotary Club once again honored the brave men and women who are serving or have served in our military by giving each of them a FREE ticket to the all-you-can-eat breakfast that was held at the North Haven Middle School.

It was all hands on deck for all of the North Haven Rotarians as they made and served thousands of pancakes for this large scale event. This year’s chairman of the event was Vice President Mark Lesage.

Rick DiNorscia, a past president of the Club, ran the annual raffle which was held during the breakfast event that included the popular sports baskets which he has provided each year. Live entertainment was be provided by the Music Center of North Haven owned by Rotarians Mary and Mark Minotti. President Debbie Volain coordinated the book fair again this year and there was a sale of luminaries by the North Haven Education Foundation.
Rotarians from Devon, New Haven, Woodbridge, North Branford all came out in support of this event.

Care to guess the favorite color of the North Haven Rotary Club this year?

North Haven Rotary Abducts (2) New Rotarians!!!

A dual new member abduction took place this morning at the Breakfastnook in North Haven as the North Haven Rotary Club converted two mildly interested prospects into fully engaged Rotarians.

The North Haven Rotary Club is happy to induct their two newest members: Al Centone and Deana Morin. Al & Deana have been diligently attending meetings for months and were hardworking participants at the Club’s most recent fundraiser; Wine & Roses. They are both very nice outgoing people that are a pleasure to be around. Deana was sponsored by LuAnn Buono and Al was sponsored by President Debbie Volain.

Abduction you ask? Deana’s nine year old niece called her last night to congratulate her on her upcoming abduction into our Club, we are going with that.

The Club now has 47 actively engaged Rotarians, up from a low of about 17 in the dark days of the late 1990’s,  thanks to the efforts of Membership Chair Ralph Cooke. Ralph’s job is to bring in quality members while it’s everyone else’s job to keep them. To quote Ralph “People only leave our Club horizontally”. It’s a formula that has worked out pretty well for over a decade.

The ‘Bumper Crop’ of newer Rotarians (Nick, LuAnn, Donna Mae, Erik and Ian) has helped to propel the Club into new and exciting directions as their collective energy and interests has moved the Club to think and act in ways that hasn’t been done before.   Al and Deana bring in a whole new level of positive energy to the mix and we are looking forward to them lifting us even further.

Photos courtesy of Dave Marchesseault

North Haven Rotary Club hosts 12th Annual Wine and Roses event

The North Haven Rotary Club successfully ran their 12th Annual Wine & Roses event at the Forget Me Not Florist Shop in North Haven today. The event, one of two major fundraisers, drew about 400 attendees who judged and enjoyed the homemade wines, the international cuisine, the music and the fabulous fellowship. This year the event was run by President-elect Nick D’Ambrosia. Nick has done a great job in raising the bar for this event by expanding the diversity of food, by introducing sponsors into the mix and by expanding the geography.

This event is unique in that it is really a wine competition (that is who makes the best wine(s), not who can drink the most). Dozens of Winemakers compete for significant trophies and bragging rights in numerous categories. The wines are judged by some professional judges and all of the willing attendees. All attendees receive a Rose as a gift for attending (Wine & Roses).

The North Haven Rotary Club has 46 very active members and this event is pretty much ‘an all hands on deck’ for members and friends. Rotarians and volunteers sell tickets, round up (and make) silent auction items,  arrange for winemakers, setup tables, chairs & tents, coordinate food, pour wine and generally have a pretty great time doing so.

Many more photos are available on Facebook by click here

A special thank you to the Rotarians that came from the Orange, Woodbridge & New Haven Rotary Clubs.