Like most other organizations, the Rotary Club of Dalton has been dramatically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as quarantine and social distancing prevent its members from holding their regular weekly meetings.
During May, however, the club will continue its tradition of commending the service achievements of exceptional elementary school students through its Charlie Bowen Fifth Grade Service Above Self program. It will also recognize the academic and service accomplishments of seniors graduating from local high schools by the award of more than $14,000 in scholarships.
In addition, the club is keenly aware that these hard times are creating new opportunities for service to the community. One of the most striking local undertakings has been the work of Dalton Public Schools and Whitfield County Schools to provide 4,000 meals per day to children in the city and county who normally depend for adequate nourishment on eating breakfast, lunch, or both, at school.
Many Rotarians have encouraged the club to assist this effort, and school system administrators indicated that the most desirable action would be to provide breakfast for the workers who prepare and distribute the children’s meals. Consequently, on April 24 the club purchased 100 boxed breakfasts from Chick-fil-A, which members of the club’s board handed out to workers at Dalton Middle School. A similar gesture of encouragement and thanks will be extended very soon to workers in the county schools.
Turning to other community needs, the club has allocated up to $10,000 for relief projects, an amount which may be modified as conditions warrant.
At the moment, the most urgent necessity appears to be for food, and for this purpose donations of $2,000 each will be made to the City of Refuge, Providence Ministries and the Dalton branch of the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. Also, a contribution of $2,000 will be made to the Salvation Army of Murray County to support relief work in the aftermath of the Easter night storms.
Beyond these financial measures, Rotarians stand ready, of course, to assist social agencies, other service clubs or organizations, and individuals in any way that might ease the inconvenience or discomfort arising from this crisis in public health.
Editor's note: In an effort to keep the community updated on news about the new coronavirus (COVID-19), articles posted to our website under "Breaking News" are available to everyone for free, whether or not you're a subscriber. We encourage you to support us by subscribing to the Daily Citizen-News or by buying a copy of the newspaper at a local store or newspaper box.