Posted by Diane Gallegos on Dec 16, 2019
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
Today’s Program: Food Insecurity
Meeting Called to order: Colleen Gillespie @ 12:20 pm
  • Invocation by: Gerry Alexander
  • Pledge of Allegiance led by: Holly Mason
  • Song: God Bless America, led by Gloria Strait
  • Four Way Test led by: Sam Bovard
Visiting Rotarians - Gretchen Sturtevant introduced Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors
  • Adrian Crofts
  • Keith Lockwood
  • Mike Marohn
  • Larry Linn
Guest of Rotarians
  • Tom McLean -Kathy Saunders (being inducted today)
  • Dennis Peterson – Wife Joan and son Sean
  • Gretchen Sturtevant  Scott Anderson
  • Warren Carlson  Alex Taft
Happy Bucks – Hosted by Dan Lahuta
  • Gloria Strait - Commented that Jim Young said she could take out a home equity loan if needed for her birthday bill.
  • Bill Latta - Proud of his son who is a 2nd year midshipman (go Navy – beat Army!)
  • Larry Poplack – Just came back from a month in Maui
December Birthdays
Jay Burney, Cheryl Selby, Jace Munson, James Young, Jill Barnes, Gloria Strait, Laurie Arnone,  and Bill Latta stood and were serenaded
100 Anniversary Story of the Day
Martin Meyer shared that about 20 years (1926-46) of Rotary minutes were lost but one story he found related to an enforced collection of $50/Rotarian to establish the Boy Scouts in this area. There was much consternation over the amount, and many refused to pay.
Salvation Army Bell Ringing
Trent Hart coordinates bell ringing at the Tumwater and Westside Safeway stores. There are a few more slots to fill. You can also write a check to Salvation Army and donate through Rotary. People can also pay via their phones for a small charge. You can make a contribution by check payable to Salvation Army and give it to Neil.  It will then count toward Olympia Rotary’s participation.
Tom McLean (Sponsor) introduced Dr. Kathy Saunders.  Kathy currently serves as the NW Director of Philanthropy for World Vision. Her father was district attorney in Grants Pass and she spent summers on her uncle’s cattle ranch in Williams OR.  Kathy earned a PhD in leadership and spiritual development from George Fox University.  
She has been married to her husband Craig for 27 years and has two children.  Craig is a retired firefighter for 35 years. Colton in the army and Jessie is a neonatal.  Kathy enjoys hiking kayaking, reading, cooking, art and watching Hallmark movies!  Rwanda is one of her favorite countries – it is a beautiful country and wonderful culture.  
President Gillespie recited the induction pledge and we all welcomed our newest member Kathy.   Anyone who sponsors a new member receives a sponsor pin. Dennis Peterson gave Kathy her new number 1,300,027.  
Jazz Band Food bank Donations
The Olympia HS Jazz Band raised $603 at our holiday joint Kiwanis/Rotary meeting where they performed. The funds will be donated to the food bank.
Denny Peterson Honored
Lorie Linn shared some colorful idioms shared regularly by “Mr. Peterson” at morning meetings. Lori was joined by Gerry Alexander, Ron Rants, and Steve Bean in honoring Dennis Peterson on his retirement from a 55-year career as an investment advisor, most recently with Morgan Stanley.  Gerry has been friends with Denny for over 70 years.  They were “West Side kids” and attended Garfield Grade School together.  Gerry recalled the many successes Denny had as an athlete (star football player and track athlete) as well as their time together as fraternity brothers and then in Olympia Rotary.  They continue to travel to UW games together- Denny has great seats and youngster Gerry is the driver and they enjoy talking about the old days.
Ron Rants made a pact with Denny that he wasn’t going to retire until Dennis did, so he can now stay home and play more golf.  They have played golf for a long time.  In 1973 Ron took over the Evergreen Plaza building so they have been “office mates” since.
Steve met Denny in 1965.  They share a common birthday although Denny is 6 years older. They were judges at the first and only Rotary Idle Night. Gretchen and Paul were dancing as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. They won best comedy because Paul lost his teeth – but no one knew it was not on purpose. Denny and Steve attended Sonics games – and there is now a Peterson rule that the team must control their spectators as a result of Denny’s boisterous complaints about the referees.  Colleen announced Denny’s retired Rotarian number she got direct from the” red line” – 335669.  Denny joined the club on June 30, 1965. Congratulations Denny!
Program: Food Insecurity
Skip Stephan, Robert Coit, Deanna East, and Stephanie Penland
Skip Stephan introduced the term food insecurity - the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. It is a huge issue. Joining Skip to discuss the problem was Robert Coit, Executive Director of the Thurston Co. Food Bank, Deanna East who works with North Thurston Public Schools as a Homeless Student Navigator, and Stephanie Penland, Assistant Director and MOW Assessor Coordinator for South Sound Senior Services.
Robert Coit touched on three aspects of food insecurity:
  1. Physical symptoms of malnutrition.  1 in 5 children in the nation are hungry, and cheap food creates childhood obesity because it is not nutritionally dense.
  2. Psychosocial issues related to the fear of what you will do to manage household finances and food insecurity.  They focus on those fears instead of their job, etc.
  3. Food as a cash equivalent – By supplying food support a family can pay the rent, cover gas and childcare. 59,000 people were served last year with 8000 volunteers. They have opened their doors to moderate income households. The numbers go up significantly between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 49% are 16 and younger 14% are seniors over 60.
As the county grows so grows the demand. School backpack programs are in place so kids go to school on Monday ready to learn instead of hungry and distracted.  Food goes to head of household so they can stay employed and secure resources.  We don’t want to wait until they are desperate at the bottom. The requirement is that they don’t have the resources to buy the food they need. The term “Hangry” was used – they provide food to the family court to help keep people focused and less angry.
The Food Bank support 33 different food pantries in the community. 6.7 million pounds of food, 700,000 pounds of fresh produce 250,000 pounds of chicken, 100,000 pounds of beef, 75,000 pounds of pork.  It needs to be cooked which can be a challenge for some.  1% need ready to eat food.  Robert expects it to get worse.  The SNAP program is lowering the amount of resources you can have to qualify – which will impact many people who will no longer qualify for basic food assistance.
Stephanie Penland thanked us for the gifts from Rotary for the Meals on Wheels program.  They will serve over 68,000 meals to Thurston and Mason Counties. Over 2500 people come in for a meal. 1 in 6 face the threat of hunger and lack basic resources. Many are diabetic, may experience depression and heart issues. Many also deal with oral health issues and may only be able to eat soft foods. They encourage us to consider volunteering.
Deanna East from North Thurston Schools started with the district in 2005.  She shared stories of children who deal with food insecurity and the label that gets ascribed to them if they accept services like a backpack of food to take home.  It makes an amazing difference when children can access food for themselves.  There are now four staff who work with the children to get services to them and their families.  Skip shared that the Salvation Army serves thousands each year and we need to spend more time on this critical topic in our club.
Mr. Snappy
Two items today- Scott Anderson won a silk scarf donated by Barb and Oscar Soule and $25 Target gift card won by Dilishondra from Morningside.
Meeting Adjourned: 1:25pm by Colleen Gillespie