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Mail: P.O. Box 6383, Ventura, CA 93006
Phone: (805) 208-9292

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Club Information

Welcome to our Club!

Ventura South

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Mondays at 12:00 PM
The Tower Club
300 East Esplanade Dr.
22nd Floor
Oxnard, CA 93036
United States of America
Latest Club News and Events
Club Members Fill Backpacks
For Students in Need
On Saturday, August 9, Members from Rotary Ventura South participated in the annual Student Backpack Project, together with members from other area service clubs. The volunteers gathered outdoors at Neighborhood Car Care Center in Ventura to fill backpacks with schools supplies for students in need throughout Ventura.
Participants from Rotary Ventura South included Bob Braitman, Nkosi Khumalo (and his wife Hugette, son Siso, and daughter Mbali), Jack and Carol Pollock, Marilyn Scott, Melody Thurman, and Stacy and Linda Zaruka.
Check out the photo album here.
Construction Begins on Ronald McDonald
Family Room at Ventura County Medical Center
Rotary Ventura South, together with Rotary Clubs from around the County, has been helping to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Ventura County Medical Center. We have participated in the 2019 Walk-a-Thon and this year's virtual event in April.
Once constructed, the room will provide a space for family members to visit and interact with children who are undergoing treatment for a variety of illnesses at the facility.
According to Adam McCormack, Director of Development for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California, construction has begin. "Even at this stage," said Adam, you can see how big and bright these Family Room spaces are going to be!
For additional views of the construction work, visit the Photo Album here.
Three Ventura South Club Members
Add to Their Paul Harris Fellowships
At our regular meeting on Monday, January 6, three members of Ventura Rotary South were recognized for adding to their Paul Harris Fellowships. Pictured above are (l to r) Don MacDonald, Bob Keating, and Diane Keay. Don and Bob each received pins for their second Paul Harris Fellowship, and Diane received a pin for her third.
The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. The number of Paul Harris Fellows reached the one million mark in 2006.
Congratulations and thank you to Don, Bob, and Diane on your achievement!
Ventura Rotary South Members
Help Collect Donations for Salvation Army
Dressed in "I'm a Rotary Bell Ringer" aprons, members of Ventura Rotary South once again took up their holiday post outside the J C Penney store at the Pacific View Mall to collect donations in the familiar Salvation Army red kettle on Saturday, December 14. Pictured above are Jack Pollock (left) and Dante Honorico.
The event was organized by Community Service Committee co-chairs Ed Keay and Jack Pollock, who also worked a bell-ringing shift. Other Club members participating included Bob Braitman, Carol Chapman, Rosanna Colin, Dante Honorico, Bob Keating, Diane Keay, Karl Lassiter, Don MacDonald, John Mattina, Kendall Mattina, Marilyn Scott, Bon Wakam, Sandy Warren, John Zaruka, and Stacy Zaruka.
Club Members Tell the Rotary Story
At Ventura's Holiday Street Fair
Members of Rotary Ventura South turned out on a rainy Saturday, December 7, to set up and staff a booth at the Annual Holiday Street Fair on Main Street in Ventura. Working in 90-minute shifts, the Club members handed out literature about Rotary’s worldwide efforts to eradicate polio and build peace, and also invited those who stopped by to attend a Club meeting to learn more.
The Ventura South Rotarians also promoted the Club’s major fundraiser, the March 1, 2020 Mardi Gras event in support of Turning Point Foundation, and the April 5, 2020 Ronald McDonald Walk.
Pictured above are (l to r): Sandy Warren, Bob Braitman, Melody Thurman, Larry Matheney, Rosa Duran-Ramirez, and Dennis Longwill. Melody went the extra mile in her outreach efforts with a Rotary wheel on her cheek, courtesy of the face-painter in the neighboring booth!
Other Club members participating in the event included Rosanna Colin, Bob Davis, Dante Honorico, Diane Keay, John Mattina, Kendall Mattina, Don MacDonald, Diane Moss, Marty Moss, Marilyn Scott, and Stacy Zaruka. And a BIG thank you to Community Service Committee Co-Chairs Ed Keay and Jack Pollock for coordinating the event! 
31st Annual Trivia Challenge
A Rousing Success!
We held our 31st Annual Trivia Challenge fundraiser in support of Ventura County Library’s Adult Literacy Program on Wednesday, November 6. Twenty-three teams competed for plaques recognizing their prowess in answering questions in a broad range of categories including sports, history, geography, and popular culture, among others.
The bulk of the proceeds support the Ventura County Library’s READ Program, which provides free one-on-one tutoring for adults who want to learn to read. The program also provides free books, special programs for dyslexic adults, computer-assisted instruction, second language reading instruction, and family literacy activities. Since 1984, the program has helped thousands of Ventura County adults achieve personal literacy goals such as passing GED tests, achieving U.S. citizenship, and gaining employment. READ has been recognized as one of the top community-based literacy programs in California.
Click here to view a slideshow of photos from the event!
Medical Marijuana -
Separating Fact from Fiction
Max Simon, our speaker on Monday, October 14, wasted no time in coming to the point. "I hate to break it to you, but virtually all you may have believed about marijuana is categorically false." As founder and CEO of Green Flower, Max is committed to educating people about the benefits of a plant that, until quite recently, was considered by many people as a dangerous, mind-altering, and most definitely illegal drug.
Instead, Max is quick to point out the very real medical benefits to marijuana. "It is incredibly effective in treating insomnia, pain, and depression/anxiety," he said. And he pointed out that baby boomers constitute the largest market for medical cannabis. "It's really effective,' said Max.
He explained the difference between CBD and THC, the active ingredients in marijuana. They each have their individual benefits in properly applied doses. In some cases, just one of the two does the trick, such as THC for sleep. When pain is involved, the effectiveness is typically increased by combining THC with CBD.
OK, so you've decided to give it a try - how and where do you start. Max recommends going to a licensed dispensary to ensure quality control of the product you purchase. "The stuff you find in health food stores and convenience stores," he said, "has virtually no regulation as to how it is constituted or marketed. If you go to a dispensary or clinic, however, you run the risk of an impure, or falsely marketed  substance.
Max stressed that his role as head of Green  Flower is to educate. "We don't sell it, we don't grow it, but we do educate people about it. That is our mission. If you'd like more education about the potential benefits of marijuana, visit
Past District Governor Nick Frankle
Discusses Peacebuilder Clubs
Among the various elements of Rotary's global activities, promoting peace stands as a vital component of the organization's mission. During his visit to our Club on Monday, September 16, Past District 5240 Governor Nick Frankle remarked that Rotarians "have always been peacebuilders." He then provided an overview of Rotary's peacebuilding efforts worldwide.
"Peace is more than no violence," Nick said. "It's addressing conditions in the world that can lead to conflict." As examples, he noted that 900 million people worldwide do not have enough food to be healthy, 14% of the world's population is illiterate, 8% of the world's population lives on less than $1.90 per day, and a child or woman is sold somewhere in the world every minute of every day. Rotary's efforts to address these problems are very real contributors to peace.
Beyond these day-to-day efforts, Rotary International maintains a formal peacebuilding program. There are Rotary Peace Centers at six universities around the world. Each year, Rotary selects up to 100 professionals to receive fellowships to study at those Peace Centers. Peace fellows who graduate are engaged in hundreds of peacebuilding projects around the world, many in high-risk areas.
Nick then turned his attention to the local level and an answer to the question, "What can one Rotarian do?" Quite a lot, actually. Nick summarized some major projects that had been initiated by individual Rotarians, and he also explained that every local project that addresses homelessness, supports free clinics, engages youth, or responds to disasters also contributes to peacebuilding.
Coming up on January 17-18, 2020 is the Rotary International Peace Conference in Ontario, California. More than 2,500 leaders from business, healthcare, academia, NGOs, faith-based organizations and mediation services will gather to share and discuss peacebuilding techniques and plans. More information is available here.
"The new peace symbol," said Nick, "is the Rotary logo."
Libraries Are More Popular
(and Needed) Than Ever Before
One might think that, in today's era of the Internet and the flood of electronic information to which we are all subjected daily, that a presentation about the state of public libraries might be a tad discouraging with potential reports of empty reading tables and low levels of books being borrowed. However, according to our speaker on Monday, September 9 (Ventura County Library Director Nancy Schram), nothing could be further from the truth.
"In 2016, there were 1.6 billion visits to public " said Nancy. "Our libraries are busier than ever." Such is certainly the case right here in Ventura County. Last year alone, there were 626,000 visits to County libraries, and patrons checked out over half a million items. Nancy noted that, for every dollar spent on libraries, Californians received an average of $3 to $6 in economic value.
Low literacy costs the United States at least $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. Programs like Rotary Ventura South's annual Trivia Challenge (coming up on November 6) that support and improve adult literacy can make a real difference in addressing this issue. (Nancy noted that 126,000 people in Ventura County are reading below the third grade level.)
Nancy also discussed the mobile library that the County operates. She explained that it travels throughout the region, serving people who may not be able to get to one of the branch libraries. "We could use a fleet of these vans, if we had the money," she noted.
For those who think printed books may be a thing of the past (or at least on their way out) due to the prevalence of e-books and devices such as Kindles, Nancy is quick to point out that just as much money in her budget goes to purchasing printed books as to the electronic variety.
Clearly, libraries continue to play a vital role in American communities in general and in Ventura County specifically, and for that we can all be grateful!
Oxnard's RSVP Program Matches
Seniors to Volunteer Opportunities
Senior citizens in Oxnard who are looking to volunteer their time and talents to a worthy endeavor need look no further than the City's Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Our speaker on Monday, August 19, was Marisue Eastlake, RSVP Director (pictured above). Marisue coordinates more than 550 people, age 55 and older, whose volunteer endeavors range from tutoring students to providing tax preparation assistance to leading educational and exercise classes.
RSVP has 70 offices around the country. "Studies show that seniors who volunteer live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives," said Marisue, "and we're matchmakers for senior volunteers. There's truly something for everyone whop wants to give back."
Marisue noted that two of her most popular classes are Bone Builders and Tai Chi. Both of them are designed to help seniors improve their balance and reduce the chances of an injury-producing fall. Tai chi goes even further, reducing blood pressure, alleviating depression, and improving overall wellness. Joining Marisue on Monday were two of her volunteer tai chi instructors, Rosanne Falcone (left) and Maria Tuason Combs. They provided a fascinating overview of the history of the ancient martial art, followed by a graceful demonstration of the eight basic forms (movements) that they teach.
Additional information on the volunteer opportunities and offerings of RSVP is available here.
Rotary Ventura South Welcomes
New Member Mike Skrocki!
One of the most enjoyable and meaningful moments at any Rotary Club meeting is welcoming a new member. Ventura Rotary South enjoyed just such a moment on Monday, August 19, when Mike Skrocki was inducted as the newest Club member. Mike is pictured above, holding his plaque of the Rotary Four-Way Test, together with his sponsor, John Zaruka, and Club President Marilyn Scott. Mike is a resident of Camarillo and works as a Regional Director for Gannett/USA Today. Welcome to the Rotary family, Mike!
Mark Sandoval Discusses
Channel Islands Harbor
"Ventura County is a jewel," said Mark Sandoval, and he went on to describe and discuss one of the features that makes that jewel sparkle, the Channel Islands Harbor. Mark has been the Director of the Harbor for a little over a year, and on Monday, August 12, he spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South and shared his passion and vision for his position.
The harbor had its beginnings in 1939 with the construction of Port Hueneme. Since then, it has become an enterprise operation, run like a business, featuring 2,100 boat slips, apartments/condominiums, hotels, and recreational opportunities. The Harbor Department is responsible for patrolling, maintenance, tenant lease management, marketing/events, regular dredging coordination, and development.
It's that last item that Mark concentrated on for the bulk of his presentation, detailing the $80 million in completed construction and the $100+ million planned in additional investment between now and 2026. Current projects underway include the Hyatt Hotel and a restaurant on the old Casa Sirena site, the Peninsula Yacht Marina, and the Bahia Marina. Those will be followed by work on:
  • A new Harbor Department Administration Building
  • Whale's Tale Restaurant
  • Fisherman's Wharf
  • Kiddie Beach Surge Wall
  • Santa Barbara Island Park
Development, of course, is not without its challenges, including entitlements and permits, financing, and the overall lengthy process it entails. With 20 years of experience managing the waterfront in Long Beach, Mark is up to the challenge, and he looks forward to making his vision for Channel Islands Harbor a reality. Thanks, Mark, for a fascinating presentation!
Rotary Ventura South Members
Fill Backpacks for Needy Students
On Saturday, August 10, members of Ventura Rotary South joined forces with Ventura Downtown Rotary and the Ventura Lions Club for the 17th Annual Student Backpack Project. The volunteers gathered at the Ventura School District office and filled 851 backpacks with notebooks, paper, folders, pens, pencils, scissors, calculators, and other school supplies for needy elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Ventura.
According to Ellyn Dembowski, project coordinator for Ventura Downtown Rotary, every school in the Ventura Unified School District was given sufficient backpacks to fulfill its individual requirements.
Rotary Ventura South members (and family members) participating in the event included Carol Chapman, Ed Keay, N.K. Khumalo (with daughter Mbali and son Siso), Jack and Carol Pollock, Marilyn Scott, Sandy Warren (and fiancee Marcy Belton), and Linda Zaruka.
Check out additional photos from the event here.
Club Assembly Concentrates
On Building Club Strength
Rotary Ventura South conducted a Club Assembly on Monday, August 5. Following is an overview of the information and discussion as an effort to keep all Club members informed. A short PowerPoint presentation served as the basis for the discussion.  The theme is “building Club strength.”
  • One month into the year, the Club has supported two Community Service projects and the first fundraising efforts are in the planning/prep stage. A third Community Services project is this Saturday – we will help fill student backpacks with school supplies at the VUSD offices This Saturday at 9AM.
  • We will induct a new member next Monday and the year’s first Social is being planned.
  • The Club currently has 42 members.The idea is to make this a “building” year.We have two excellent prospective new members in process.The Club has been successful at making the Club more diverse in every category which adds to our strength.
  • The current financial condition of the Club is good. Basic financial information will be regularly shared with the Club members.
  • A major area of effort is now filling the President Elect and the President Elect Nominee positions.
  • Building Club leadership and strength can happen in a number of ways:
  • We are using Co-Chairs as a way of having two members who know that area of service. In some cases, one can mentor the other. Having Co-Chairs also allows one to cover for the other when needed and allow more members to be involved.
  • Building-connections-from-within means that when we have a Community Services project, Club Socials, or fundraisers, we also build in ways to promote the Club by wearing Club shirts and talking to non-member participants, have hand-out material available, find a way to share the different types of membership, etc.
  • We need to aim a little higher for a regular 75 -80% regular attendance.Just as we are to be reaching out to non-members, we need to do the same with our own members.
  • Having good weekly speakers has been one of the keys having good to building membership and regular attendance. We currently looking for three Club members to serve on the Programs Committee.Having more than one member serve allows for more diversity in program types and shares the workload.
  • Efforts have been underway to make the jobs on the Board easier by making the responsibilities more understandable. For example, if you become one of the new Membership Co-Chairs, you can pull up the Club’s website, under Members Only, and find written “how-to” materials. The same is true for Community Services, Treasurer, etc. We will be working this year to cover all areas.
  • Thanks to all who have taken on extra responsibility to support the Club. Keeping promises and timely follow-through are key to any group’s success. If you can’t, then find a replacement and let the President know.This is one of the best ways to build Club strength and leadership.
Discussion by Members – The following contributions were made:
  1. Move the notice for the upcoming weekly meetings to earlier in the week.
  2. Put final touches on the new member process.
  3. Bring back Craft Talks as one way to get to know other Club members.
  4. Continue to approach Club members one-on-one as a recruitment approach to fill positions.
  5. A small committee of Club members is being formed by the President to work on filling the PE and the PEN positions.
Workforce Development Board of Ventura County
Seeks to Pair Quality Workers with Quality Jobs
"Workforce development is economic development." So said Rebecca Evans, Executive Director of the Workforce Development Board of Ventura County. Rebecca was the speaker at Ventura Rotary South's regular meeting on Monday, June 29.
The primary goal of the Workforce Development Board, said Rebecca, is to provide oversight for the spending of federal dollars earmarked for job growth. The Board reports to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, and partners strategically with the Welfare to Work Program, Career Services, and the Employment Development Department to serve the employment needs of Ventura County.
"The Board is responsible for insuring a quality workforce to support businesses in the County," said Rebecca. She noted the many resources available to both employers and job seekers. Workforce training is a key aspect of the Board's efforts. Rebecca explained that money is available for companies who are willing to train existing or new workers in enhanced job skills. She noted also that the Board's services are for workers of all age groups, including entry level through retiree.
Rebecca's advice to older workers trying to reenter the job market was to not hesitate in making their inquiries with the Workforce Development Board. "Ask early," she said.
For additional information on the Board's activities and opportunities, visit their website at
Club Members Participate in 27th Annual
Ventura County Veterans Stand Down
On a warm Saturday afternoon, July 27, a team of members and guests from Rotary Ventura South prepared and served dinner for more than 50 homeless veterans at the 27th Annual Veterans Stand Down, a three-day event that provides a wide range of services to veterans from throughout the County, many of whom, for one reason or another, have found themselves without a permanent home. Services include medical screenings and evaluations; optometry examinations and distribution of prescription lenses; dental screenings and care; psychological counseling; legal counseling; employment counseling and referrals; veterans benefits; general relief information; access to showers, toiletries and clean clothing; hot meals; and a range of other government and social services.
On Saturday, the team from Ventura Rotary South helped prepare and serve tri-tip, salad, beans, garlic bread, and cake. Our club has participated in the event for a number of years and also donated $1,000 to purchase the food for the meal. The crew also assisted with the clean-up tasks.
Ed Keay, Community Service Committee Co-Chair for Ventura Rotary South, coordinated the Club's participation. Other members of the team on Saturday included Diane Keay, John and Kendall Mattina, Jack and Carol Pollock, Marilyn and Don Scott, Sandy Warren, Marcy Belton, and Peter McClintock. Click here to view a photo album of the event.
A New Level of Care
At Community Memorial Hospital
With the opening of the new Ocean Tower at Community Memorial Hospital, Ventura has enhanced is cardiac, neo-natal, emergency, and surgical care for patients. Megan O'Neill, Business Development Manager with Community Memorial Health System, spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, July 22, and provided a brief history of CMH and details on its newly expanded profile.
Megan noted that CMH is a leader in health care in Ventura County with more than 450,000 patient visits annually. It has the busiest surgical, heart/vascular, and birthing centers in the County. The new Ocean Tower was built in response to a California seismic mandate. It features 250 private rooms, a larger emergency room with state-of-the-art technology, and a dedicated maternal health floor.
Megan also explained some of the "softer" features of the new facility, including a healing garden, sleeper sofas in patient rooms so family members can stay with their loved ones, and more than 600 pieces of local artwork that were donated to the hospital (including art by children for the pediatric unit).
The older facility (designated the Mountain Tower) is still an integral part of the Community Memorial Health System, housing administrative offices, the graduate medical education/residency program, and the outpatient program.
With the expanded facility comes a greater need for volunteers to assist with everything from patient care to staffing the gift shop to providing general information to visitors at the main entrance. Applications for volunteer work can be obtained in the lobby of the new Ocean Tower.
Club Members Congratulate Melody Thurman
For Her Year of Leadership at Step-Down Event
On Monday evening, June 24, members and guests of Ventura Rotary South enjoyed the traditional Step-Down Dinner, an annual event that recognizes the leadership and achievements of the outgoing president (Melody Thurman, right), and welcomes the president-elect (Marilyn Scott, left). This year's event, held at the Tower Club in Oxnard, featured live jazz, an elegant dinner, and plenty of reminiscences of the Club's past year.
Among the speakers was Kendall Mattina, who recounted the many service projects and fundraisers that the Club undertook during Melody's term, including the Trivia Challenge (in support of adult literacy), Mardi Gras (Turning Point Foundation fundraiser), dictionary program, Ronald McDonald Walk, and so many others.
Photos from the evening can be viewed here. Congratulations, Melody!
Rotary Ventura South held its annual Bake Sale in support of the Interact Club at St. Bonaventure High School on Monday, June 3. Club member Dennis Longwill (left) handled the auctioneer duties as Interact Club members displayed and passed out the goodies. Bids for the delectable delicacies totaled $1,420, which will go toward helping the Interact Club with their service projects.
Southern California Gas Company is Busy
With Pipeline Projects in Ventura
Maria Ventura, Public Affairs Manager for Southern California Gas Company, spoke to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, April 22, outlining the purpose and scope of her company's current work on gas infrastructure in the City of Ventura. Specifically, So Cal Gas is finishing up a major pipeline replacement project along several miles of Telephone Road and will shortly begin a companion project along Mills Road and Main Street.
Maria noted that natural gas is clean, renewable energy and it is helping California maintain its leadership role in greenhouse gas reduction. She also explained the efficiencies gas has as compared to electricity as far as cost and storage are concerned.
To minimize impacts on homes, businesses, and traffic, work on the Mills Road/Main Street pipeline project will largely be done at night. The replacement operation is expected to take approximately six months to complete (weather and other factors permitting).
For more information on the pipeline replacement work, visit
Supervisor Zaragoza Details Accomplishments
and Challenges Facing Ventura County
Speaking to members and guests of Ventura Rotary South on Monday, April 8, Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragoza presented a comprehensive summary of the state of the County, detailing recent successes, current projects, and primary challenges facing County officials. Supervisor Zaragoza's 5th District includes  Oxnard Shores, Mandalay Bay, Silver Strand, Hollywood Beach, Hollywood by the Sea, Channel Islands Harbor, El Rio, Nyeland Acres, Del Norte, Oxnard College, Oxnard Plain, Strickland and a portion of the Ventura County Naval Base Pt. Hueneme.
"Ventura County is one of the safest places in the world," said the Suervisor, "thanks to the work of our public safety personnel and the involvement of our citizens." He noted that County government has a $2.24 billion budget and includes some 26 agencies and departments, staffed by over 9,000 employees, which makes the government the second largest employer in the County behind Naval Base Port Hueneme (19,000 employees).
Among the County's key priorities are revenue enhancement, social services (homelessness), public safety and the 2020 Census, which is critical to funding, provision of services, and political representation.
Supervisor Zaragoza reviewed a dozen current capital projects in the County, including a $61 million medical/mental health unit at Todd Roadd Jail, a permanent year-round homeless shelter on Knoll Drive, medical examiner facility upgrades, Fillmore Library improvements, and the commissioning of two Black Hawk helicopters for the County Fire District.
Focusing on his own District 5, the Supervisor noted a number of topics of interest, including Nyeland Acres Community Center and Park, improvements at Channel Islands Harbor, a cannabis ordinance, the 2040 General Plan, and Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics (STEAM) Program at Rio School.
Asked about the most pressing challenges facing Ventura County, Supervisor Zaragoza named three: housing, jobs, and water resources. "We have to address all three if Ventura County is going to continue to thrive as one of the most desirable places to live and work."
Ventura Rotary South Members Walk to Support
Ronald McDonald Family Room at VCMC
About a dozen members of our Club gathered at Ventura State Beach on Sunday morning, April 6, to participate in the Ronald McDonald Walk For Kids. The event raised funds in support of the new Ronald McDonald Family Room to be built at Ventura County Medical Center. The Room will provide a place where families can be with their children who are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Other Ventura County Rotary Club members participated in the walk as did District 5240 Governor Sandi Schwartz.
The walk took participants along the promenade to the Ventura River and back again on a warm and beautiful morning. Additional Club members who weren't able to participate in the walk supported the event with financial contributions.
Santa Barbara-Based Direct Relief
Provides Medical Aid to the Needy
The largest charitable medical aid organization in the world is based in our own back yard: Santa Barbara. It's Direct Relief, and has been providing much-needed medical services, free of charge, to people in need around the world for more than 70 years. On Monday, April 1, Dean Axelrod of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, spoke to our members and guests about Direct Relief's mission and goals.
"Maternal health is the bedrock of any strong community and family," said Dean, "and that is a core mission of Direct Relief." He noted that it is also one of the key areas of focus for Rotary International. "Every year," said Dean, "303,000 women die from pregnancy-related illnesses, most of them in third-world nations." He added that a great many of these deaths are preventable with simple medical care, which is often unavailable. "A basic human need is that of healthy families," said Dean.
To that end, Direct Relief serves 102 countries, all 50 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. "We partner with local organizations to provide free medical resources for people in poverty, after disasters, or as the result of civil conflict," said Dean. He noted that Direct Relief provides significant support to midwives who are frequently the "first responders" in many areas of the world.
Last year, Direct Relief provided $1.1 billion in donated aid. For more information, visit
Food Share Feeds Thousands
In Ventura County
"We are the Costco of food donation in Ventura County." That's how CEO Monica White described the operation of Food Share, an agency that provides free food to more than 75,000 people each month in Ventura County. Indeed, with two 36,000 square-foot warehouses, a staff of 28 employees, and 3,000 volunteers serving 190 community charitable food outlets, Food Share is able to tackle the problem of hunger from Ojai to the Conejo Valley.
According to Food Share's website, 1 in 6 people in Ventura County are struggling with food insecurity. Monica noted that, while that ratio includes the 1800 chronically homeless and hungry people (as of the latest count), it also includes people for whom having enough to eat may be an intermittent or one-time event. "Seventy percent of the people we serve come to us for help one to three times a year," she said. "The remaining 30 percent rely on us regularly. And no matter who they are, when they come to a Food Share agency, they are treated with respect and courtesy."
More than 3,500 seniors receive a 30-pound box of various fresh and packaged food items each month. All food is collected from growers, retail outlets and individual donations. At present, 32 percent of the food includes fresh fruit and vegetables - Monica's goal is to raise that to 50 percent.
For those looking to support Food Share's mission, they can donate money or volunteer their time. Each $1 donated buys $5 worth of food. And people are always needed to pick up and deliver food, stock shelves, or perform other essential tasks. "If you want to help," said Monica, "we'll find a place for you.
For additional information, visit or call (805) 983-7100.
Ken Strange
Mar 01, 2021 12:00 PM
Experiences on the Camino de Santiago in Spain
Nkosi Khumalo
Mar 22, 2021 12:00 PM
Insights and Highlights from PETS ("President Elect Training Seminar")
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