Community Rallies to Support those hit hardest by COVID-19


From Left: Sharing Center CEO, David Brubaker, MI Rotary Club President, Peggy Russell, Member at Large Pat Tash and Sandee Roberts, MI Rotary Club Sgt. At Arms, Keri Goff

Service above self is the Rotary motto, and for the past year the Merritt Island Rotary Club (dinner club) has been heralding this motto as they worked to collect items to donate to the Central Brevard Sharing Center in Cocoa, FL. Each member of the club was tasked with delivering items of need to the clubs Sergeant at Arms, Keri Goff, during regular meetings. “We were introduced to the work of the Central Brevard Sharing Center and as a club we began taking actions to support them in their mission at the start of this fiscal year”.

Then came COVID-19 and regular meetings became impossible, so the club transitioned to virtual meetings. When discussions turned to the collections of food and sanitary items the club members knew that now with unemployment numbers skyrocketing, it was the time to act more than ever.

“We had an opportunity to apply for a grant through the Rotary International Foundation for up to $2,500 to be used for COVID-19 supports. Our club voted unanimously to apply for that grant and deliver the funds to the Central Brevard Sharing Center immediately so the most good could be done for those in our community who were struggling with job losses.” stated Keri. “Unfortunately, the funds from Rotary International moved quickly, and we were only approved for $500.”

Still the club moved forward and delivered the $500 check to the Sharing Center’s CEO David Brubaker in early May.

Keri was also quick to say “We have a fantastic treasurer in Gene Burkett, and he was on top of what was happening at Rotary International. When it was announced that a second wave of COVID-19 grants would be released to communities in need, he applied immediately, and our club was awarded the full $2,500 for the Sharing Center! It was a blessing in disguise as we were able to combine the originally approved $500 with a second donation of $2,500”

The second check was delivered just a couple weeks after the first, in the midst of the pandemic. The Merritt Island Rotary Club members did not stop there, on June 10th multiple members delivered physical items above and beyond what had been collected during the in-person regular club meetings with approximately $1,800 worth of food, clothing, cleaning, and personal care items.

“The Merritt Island Rotary club is grateful and proud to partner with The Sharing Center of Central Brevard to provide a donation of cash, food, clothing, and other goods to help meet the needs of the people of our community.” Explained club president, Peggy Russell. “The members of our club along with family and friends helped to make this project a huge success and once again exemplifies the Rotary International motto of Service Above Self.”

The Central Brevard Sharing Center provides emergency assistance and guidance to those in our community who are struggling to obtain life’s most basic needs.

“Obviously, we appreciate the funds, but the biggest involvement we apprciate is your hands-on work in our community.” Expressed David Brubaker, at June 10ths delivery. “Without places like the Sharing Center we would have a big void in our community with regards to social services, and really your personal involvement opens doors for us and continue to open doors for our organization. It’s just a wonderfully organic growth of relationships between the local Rotary clubs and the Sharing Center. Thank you so much.” Brubaker is also a longtime Rotarian with the Cocoa Rotary Club.

62% of the people served by the Sharing Center are ages 19-64 with less than 6% of all people served being homeless. Everyone struggles at times. The programs of the Sharing Center make sure individuals don’t have to go without life’s most essential needs.

To learn how you can support the Sharing Center of Central Brevard visit sharingcenter.org

In the past year, the Merritt Island Rotary Club has sponsored and completed 12 projects, raising over $9,700 in cash donations for the local community.

To get involved visit MerrittIslandRotary.com

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P.O. Box 541122
Merritt Island, FL 32954
Meeting Location:                                                              Island Tiki Grill @ Lincoln of Merritt Island
1850 E. Merritt Island Causeway
Merritt Island, FL 32952