Rotary District 7780 Gov. Margret Belanger, center, presenting the Paul Harris Fellow recognition to Main Street Grocery represented by Jane Gravel, left, with Marianne Pinkham Rotary Club of Damariscotta – Newcastle Foundation Chair, on right. Contributed photo

DAMARISCOTTA — In keeping with Rotary Foundation’s mission to “enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty” during the club’s annual Change Over Dinner on June 28 at the 1812 House, the Rotary Club of Damariscotta – Newcastle presented a series of 2020-21 Paul Harris Organizational Community Service recognition awards.

Rotary District 7780 Gov. Margret Belanger, center, presenting the Paul Harris Fellow recognition to Central Lincoln County YMCA represented by Karen-Ann Hager, left, and Casey Clark Kelly, right. Contributed photo

In less than a month after COVID-19 entered the communities (mid-March 2020) causing business, schools, churches and community organizations to shut down, an effort that started with a few dozen meals produced in the kitchen of Main Street Grocery in Damariscotta grew into an initiative that has delivered thousands of meals to Lincoln County residents. The project, known as the Lincoln County Food Initiative, became a collaboration of local nonprofits, including the Rotary Club of D/N, businesses, and individuals who come together to ensure food security in Lincoln County.

Together, above and beyond their regular business functions, the group ran a meal delivery program, created a volunteer network and a hotline offering community navigation and resources, provided support to local food pantries and coordinated Farm to Families food box distribution. For 15 months with the support of Camp Kieve’s kitchen and then Rising Tide’s Loving Locals program and dozens of volunteers, the initiative brought homemade meals and food staples to about 50 households twice a week.

In recognition of their organization’s role in initiative’s success and for providing COVID-19 resources, safe testing and immunization sites throughout Maine’s State of Emergency the following businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals were recognized, though the use of a storytelling format, by Marianne Pinkham, Club Foundation Chair, as Paul Harris Fellows:

• Main Street Grocery — Jane Gravel
• S. Fernald’s Country Store — Rosie and Ricky Richards
• Central Lincoln County YMCA — Casey Clark Kelly and Karen-Ann Hagar
• Kieve Wavus Education — Charlie Richardson and Lee Giberson
• Healthy Lincoln County — Kate Martin and Jessica Breithaupt
• Sandy Gilbreath — Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission
• Rising Tide Coop — Heather Burt
• LincolnHealth — Cindy Wade

As part of the evening’s festivities William “Billy” Claflin was inducted as the Rotary Club of Damariscotta – Newcastle’s 2021-22 president. Club Secretary and Assistant District Gov. Lorraine Farherty received outgoing President Roberta “Berta” Mclaughlin’s “Stepping Up” award.

Rotary District 7780 Gov. Margret Belanger, left, presenting the Paul Harris Fellow recognition to S. Fernald’s Country Store represented by Ricky and Rosie Richards. Contributed photo

The presentation of Paul Harris Fellow recognition is The Rotary Foundation’s way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and educational programs. It is named for Rotary’s founder, a Chicago lawyer, who started the organization with three business associates in 1905. Typically, the Paul Harris recognition award acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.

In 1979, at the International Assembly, incoming Rotary International President James Bomar challenged Rotary clubs to begin making non-Rotarian Paul Harris Fellow designations to community members who live or work in the area of their club in recognition of long and meritorious service to the community that fulfills the ideals of Rotary, particularly Service above Self.

Rotary District 7780 Gov. Margret Belanger, left, presenting the Paul Harris Fellow recognition to LincolnHealth, represented by Cindy Wade, right. Contributed photo

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders who dedicate their time and talent to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels. Damariscotta — Newcastle Rotary Club members are dedicated people who share a passion for both community service and friendship. Becoming a Rotarian connects you with a diverse group of professionals who share your drive to give back.

For more information about club meetings, projects and membership, visit dnrotary.org.