Fox Chapel Area Rotary golf event benefits local charities
St. Margaret Foundation President Mary Lee Gannon said the group's Free Rides for Seniors is a game-changer for some senior citizens.
The bus that transports people to doctor's appointments or grocery trips between Blawnox and Sharpsburg enables many to keep their independence, she said.
“My first week here I rode the shuttle and was overwhelmed with the gratitude of riders who have no other way to get to the grocery store, pharmacy or doctor's office,” Gannon said. “Many of them told me the shuttle riders and volunteer drivers are the only people they see all week.”
The wheels will keep turning thanks in part to a donation from the Fox Chapel Area Rotary Club.
Members hosted the club's annual golf outing at River Forest Country Club in Freeport and brought in $21,000 to distribute to local groups like St. Margaret Foundation, All of Us Care in Sharpsburg and Aspinwall Meals on Wheels.
The event drew more than 100 golfers and lunch patrons, a record for the club, said Rotary member Tom Benic. The winning foursome included Jim Boyer, Jason Heininger, Tom Martin and Dave McNaughton with the low score among 25 groups.
Founded in 1970, the Fox Chapel branch of Rotary International is one of 34,000 clubs worldwide. Volunteers support education and job training, work to combat hunger and seek to improve local community programs.
Other area groups that received money from the Rotary fundraiser include the Lauri Ann West Community Center, Camp Guyasuta, Cooper-Siegel Community Library and St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Hannah Ufnar, Director of the All of Us Care program in Sharpsburg, said her group will use the donation to help low-income families connect to the Internet.
All of Us Care, an off-shoot of Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania, aims to keep children safe from drugs, assist with homework and offer recreational opportunities. It joined forces with Comcast to extend a program called Internet Essentials to families with children who receive free or reduced lunch at school.
Ufnar said families can get connected free to the Internet for one year and children receive a laptop to keep. The mission is to level the playing field and provide students with access to computers for homework, research and creativity, Ufnar said.
“We help them get started,” she said, adding that families who qualify for the program can continue to receive low-cost Internet service for $9.99 a year.
So far, All of Us Care has provided seven families with a computer and Internet with help from Rotary donations, Ufnar said.
“There are more on the list that are moving through the steps now thanks to this additional donation,” she said.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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