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October 25, 2020
Heading into the last week of October, it has been a very busy month with many accomplishments all Bethlehem Rotarians can be proud of. Frequently I am asked by people how we can do anything if we do not have in-person meetings? I answer: Yes, we are doing what we do in a different way - BUT - our mission is still the same and we will get the project completed. I will review a few of them.
Our annual Taste & Tunes event became a virtual Bake Sale auction with many generous sponsors and bakers. Despite COVID-19, our committee crafted an event everyone could participate in AND provide needed exposure to local bakers and restaurants that have been adversely affected by the pandemic. I talked to a local baker today who is so excited that her business received the on-line exposure and hopefully will gain some new customers.  And and most importantly, we're helping our beneficiary. It's a win-win for all. Once the dust settles and expenses are paid, we are looking at a net of $24,000 that will be split equally with Northeast Community Center (to stock their pantry as they have absorbed clients from 6 area pantries that closed-) and our Bethlehem Rotary Foundation (to fund our grant requests and other charitable needs.) Who said this couldn't be done?  THANKS to all!  
Saturday, October 24th was the annual Race to Zero-Purple Pinkie Race/Walk which went virtual. While District 7430 hosted the event on-line, Team Bethlehem held our own walk from Centennial Park on Sand Island. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the Fall colors with fellow Rotarians in-person while raising money to support polio eradication. Team Bethlehem pledged $500, with $375 raised there is still time to click the Race to Zero box on ClubRunner and donate. Remember there is a 2-1 matching agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-your $50 contribution becomes $150! This year's historic achievement of Africa being declared free of the wild poliovirus means we are so close to eradicating the disease in the two remaining countries-Afghanistan & Pakistan. Please help Team Bethlehem captain Maria Nathans reach our goal!
Front L to R: Deb Geiger, Maria Nathans
Back L to R: Jim Geiger, Chris Nelson, Rocco Damato, Diane Donaher
Our Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) is again sponsoring a program for Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Week on November 14 at 7PM. The virtual event will feature poetry, artwork, and musical performances by trafficking survivors & anti-trafficking advocates, showing their strength and messages through art. Go to ClubRunner and click the box to sign up for the event.
Cindy Glick advises that the November 15 deadline is fast approaching for organizations to submit grant requests. Please pass the information along to community organizations that could benefit from our assistance. I'm sure you know a group that would appreciate learning that the grants are available. Direct them to our website and download the guidelines and request forms.
I'll review more projects in next week's bulletin.  Stay tuned!
Last week was a dual classification talk. Nikki Gingrich-Director of Development & Marketing at BAVTS talked about her path that led her to that position. Since growing up in Upper Darby, she has called the Lehigh Valley home. A graduate of DeSales University, Nikki has diverse experience at different organizations including Development Coordinator at the PA Shakespeare Festival with Deb Walter. Some of her passions are being outdoors with her husband and 2 sons, public speaking as President of the local Toastmasters, and being a Meditation Teacher & Mindfulness Life Coach. She has stepped right into our club as Chair of the Vocational Committee assisting us with our relationship at BAVTS, and will be guiding us with Rotary's new partnership with Toastmasters International.
Rocco Damato gave us a very interesting chronological tale of the path that led him to become Chairman & CEO of Bazzini Nut Company. Graduating from SUNY and Hofstra, with a stint in the U.S. Army, Rocco pursued a teaching career while starting Carriage House, a dried fruit & nut packing company. Then, in 1983 he acquired through a leveraged buyout, Bazzini Nut Co. Various acquisitions have grown the company into the diverse product offerings they are known for today. And yes, they still provide the peanuts to the New York Yankees as they have since the Yankees played at the Polo Grounds 100 years ago. Rocco has served on trade organizations, and various groups in NYC including the Bronx Overall Development Corp. and the Workforce Investment Board.  He credits his success to the support and guidance of his wife of 58 years-Elektra. Rocco has helped us with Centennial Park cleanup and was in our Race to Zero walk yesterday. Plus he is working on an exciting project with other members we will be hearing about soon.
Plan on joining us for another dual classification talk featuring Tiffany Henning, the Executive Director of the Greater Valley YMCA-Bethlehem Branch.  And Dave Erickson will be doing an update classification talk on his current career direction.  David was one of our tech gurus for the T&T auction site. Don't miss our weekly meeting.  It's always fascinating to learn more about our new members.
See you Wednesday!
Yours in Rotary service,
President Pete Mickolay