Rotary Club of LaPlace celebrates 47th anniversary
Published 10:33 am Wednesday, February 8, 2023
LAPLACE — For nearly 50 years, the Rotary Club of LaPlace has supported education, quality of life, community development and civic initiatives in the St. John the Baptist Parish community.
A group of community and business leaders came together to form the local club on January 31, 1976. The annual Pups in the Park on 51 charity dog walk became the Rotary Club of LaPlace’s signature fundraising event, collecting thousands of dollars to support animal-related charities and initiatives in the community.
On January 31, 2023, Rotary Club of LaPlace members commemorated the group’s 47th anniversary during a weekly meeting at Riverlands Golf and Country Club.
The anniversary will be formally celebrated on February 8. The following week, Rotary members will jump right back into what they do best – prioritizing service above self.
On February 14, the Rotary Club of LaPlace will deliver Valentine’s Day treats and call bingo at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Home in Reserve.
Rotarians last visited the Veterans Home just before Christmas along with members of East St. John’s Interact Club, bringing Christmas carols, holiday cheer and hot servings of homemade gumbo and potato salad.
To continuously give back to seniors in the community, the Rotary Club of LaPlace currently sponsors a monthly fellowship with the residents of Place Du Bourg. Held on the first Tuesday of each month, the fellowship includes snacks, drinks and 10 rounds of bingo. Soon, Rotarians will implement a quarterly “bunco” night since the social dice game has become the latest craze among seniors.
Rotary Club President Demetria Robinson-Carter said the group plans to resume outreach with the recently-reopened Twin Oaks Nursing Home of LaPlace by delivering gifts for the residents.
“What has been most rewarding to me is giving back to the community by going to Place Du Bourg, the Veterans Home and Twin Oaks and just seeing the joy on people’s faces. We are letting them know the community still cares about them, and they are not forgotten as they become seniors,” Robinson-Carter said. “Some of them have put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into the community, and we want them to know we are still keeping it going. We care about making St. John Parish bigger and brighter so we can continue to shine.”
The Rotary Club of LaPlace also supports the youngest members of the community, regularly reaching out to schools to provide academic scholarships, Flag Day presentations, sweatshirt donations, and funding for early literacy materials for preschool students.
Rotary’s service expands to other areas, including Clean Sweeps to remove litter in the fall and spring. Rotarians also regularly partner with community groups and churches. They have assisted Eliza Eugene’s Blessed to Be a Blessing nonprofit during the annual Backpack Extravaganza. Partnering with New Wine Christian Fellowship, Rotarians provided more hands on deck during a day of service restoring homes in the community on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Ida. Rotary also partnered with New Wine to feed roughly 1,500 individuals in need during the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
Within the past year post Hurricane Ida, the Rotary Club of LaPlace has given away $50 gift cards to 100 residents for a total contribution of $5,000. Recently, a Christmas basket giveaway was organized to reach underprivileged families.
While several local organizations struggled to maintain membership through the social distancing of the COVID-19 pandemic and the destruction of Hurricane Ida, the Rotary Club of LaPlace continued to push forward by adapting the format of weekly meetings.
What started with telecall meetings during COVID shifted to Zoom calls that allowed members to see and more easily interact with one another. Eventually, the club was able to resume meetings while still offering the virtual option for members with health concerns.
The Rotary Club of LaPlace currently meets at noon each Tuesday at Riverlands Country Club in LaPlace. Robinson-Carter said the club plans to explore additional meeting times in 2023 to invite participation from more members of the business community.
“We’re trying to expand our presence by adjusting our meetings from the 12 noon time every week to hopefully attract more residents that work outside of the parish,” she said. “We are looking to do some evening and morning events.”
Rotary Club of LaPlace currently has 31 active members who serve the community while upholding the standards of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional and community leaders with a mission to “provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.”
Rotary Club of LaPlace can be reached at https://laplacerotary.org/ or at Rotary Club of LaPlace, P.O. Box 606, LaPlace, LA 70069