The San Benito Rotary Club has been very busy with community service projects and one international project.  I am excited to share these short stories with the newsletter as it is our first time to do so.  
Story and pictures submitted by
Olivia Rivas
San Benito Rotary Club
Halloween Project:
Spooktacular 2020 was held on October 31, 2020.  The San Benito Rotary Club wanted to provide children of our community with a tradition which they have enjoyed for so many years.  We wanted them to experience this fun event because these children have given up so much during this pandemic.  We wanted to address the mental health needs of these children.  The club received tremendous support from the business community and the Chamber of Commerce.  The School District allowed us to use the stadium parking lot and 16 “vendors” set up booths and a total of 6,000 goodie bags were given to children in a drive by format. The goodie bags contained children’s size masks, hand sanitizers, wipes, candy, and other items such as flash drives for their on-line schooling.  It was a tremendous success. The vehicle lines moved fast yet they were about a mile long!  All CDC and city guidelines were followed.
Turkey Project:
We sought recommendations from school principals and school counselors of their most needy families.  We prepared and delivered a box containing 20 lbs. turkeys, an assortment of canned items such as corn, green beans, cranberry sauces, bread rolls, bottles of gravy, boxes of stuffing and even pumpkin pies to the identified families in ten elementary schools.  Families were so grateful……many living multi-generational in very small homes.  One little boy said to his mother in Spanish, “Mommy, Mommy..are we eating turkey?”   This was such a rewarding project.  We hope to continue this project next year and already have 70 turkeys promised for next years.  Every item in the boxes we delivered was donated to us!!
International Toy Project
We prepared 300 bags of candy, children’s masks and miniature toys to be given to children in a small village in Mexico not too far from the Mexican Border.  Local Priest from San Benito told us about this small village that needed help.  What started out as a 300 bag project turned out to be a 3 carload project of larger gently used toys, winter clothing for children and school backpacks.  Mexican Customs cooperated fully, and this load of items made its way to the Mexican Village.  Our club membership was so grateful as all items were donated to us for this purpose.
Sock Drive
Our second annual sock drive was so successful.  Last year we collected 1,000 pairs of children’s socks and this year we collected 4,000 pairs of socks!  We donated the socks to 4 local agencies/homes that care for abused or orphaned children.
Food Pantry Donation
The membership reached into their pockets and made a personal donation to the local food pantry.  This time of year, their supplies run low and we were happy to help.
Santa Cruising through Town
When we heard that the City Christmas Parade was cancelled we decided that Rotary was not cancelling Christmas and Santa’s visit to our city.  With the help of 6 volunteer Santa Clauses, Mrs. Claus and the Grinch, we divided the city by zones and each Santa cruised through their zone in an open-air vehicle followed by a car with a couple of elves and a car with Christmas music.  We covered the entire city neighborhoods.  The local newspaper and face book let the community know that Santa would cruise by the neighborhood…. would not stop but would cruise slowly by their home.  Everyone had a great time.  Children sat in their own yards with their lawn chair to wait for Santa.  We followed all CDC and city guidelines in this project.