Sunday, January 10, 2010

Annual Rotary Dinner

Last night, Brad and I attended my annual Rotary holiday dinner and auction. My Rotary club postpones our celebration until January. With all the parties in December, there would surely be a conflict in schedules; and in Kodiak, many continue to celebrate the holiday season as Russian Christmas is not until 7 January.

In the morning, I joined a small crew of Rotarians to decorate the party space in the local sushi restaurant, the Old Powerhouse. Our theme was a traditional Christmas, complete with strung popcorn on the tree, sugared fruit in the centerpieces, and strung chestnuts hung over the gift table.

Later in the afternoon, I placed the finishing touches on my gift baskets. Each year, each guest brings a gift to auction off. We either seek donated items, make it/them ourselves, our buy an item from a local vendor. We then auction them off to each other and all proceeds go to a local charity. Last year, we raised over $2000!

Brad and I arrived during cocktail hour, placed my two gift baskets on the table, and proceeded to mingle among guests and order drinks from the bar. We took our seats next to the club's secretary, Lorna, and her husband, Mike; and newest member, Heather, and her husband Matthew. Lorna works for Senator Gary Stevens (also a fellow Rotarian in the noon club) and her husband Mike is a retired Bering Sea fisherman (which gave him and Brad lots of stories to exchange). Heather works in the school district, and her husband Matthew works at the local print shop and is responsible for helping me create those great holiday greeting cards we sent out. The sushi buffet opened, and with plates piled high, we dined and began our short awards ceremony: Rotarian of the Year, recognition for our committee chairs, and a round of applause for our most beneficial project: Coats for Kids. Each year, we stage boxes in key areas around town and collect coats for children in Kodiak and surrounding villages. This program is made possible via the generosity of the local dry cleaners, who donate the cleaning of all donated coats. This year, we collected just shy of 500 coats. The owners of the dry cleaners, the Ames, joined us for our dinner and received well-deserved honors for their contribution to this successful program.

The highlight of our evening was the entertainment: St. Innocent's Academy lifted us up with carol singing. They sang both traditional song, such as O Come All Ye Faithful, and then some Russian tunes. After a standing ovation, our local group headed out so we could start our auction.
Reprising my role as Vanna, from last year's auction, I carted items around to each table, showing off their best features as Lindsey, a former Mr. Alaska, took bids via microphone. With the amount of gifts to auction through, we enlisted fellow member, Diana, to tag team with me. Some of the best items included bear viewing from SeaHawk air and 40,000 Alaska Airline Miles; and then homemade gifts of apple pie, blankets, and pillow cases.

We ended our evening by auctioning off Indian dinners, cooked by our current exchange student, Sagar. What a deal: he comes to your home, cooks, serves, and cleans up! He has three menu selections and feeds up to four but can do more as necessary. He is raising money to extend his exchange and go on a tour of the West Coast before heading home to Pune, India.

It is because of programs like this that I will miss this club immensely. I intend to transfer my membership to another club when we move, but this family of friends will be missed, truly.

1 comment:

Flo said...

What a great evening, filled with the spirit of philanthropy. Thinking of Sagar's home made Indian dinner is definitely making me crave curry all of a sudden :)