Club To Host Benefit Drive

ST. MARYS — As part of its effort to support the international community, the St. Marys Rotary Club will be holding a clothing drive to benefit those less fortunate.

The drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 30 and the club will collect baby blankets, sleepers, diapers, diaper rash ointments and clothing for children and adults for Medical Equipment and Supplies Abroad (MESA). Rotary President Linda Vogel touted the drive as having a dual purpose.

“MESA ships medical equipment to countries that are in need, and they use the clothing to pack around the medical equipment to protect it,” Vogel said. “(The clothing) has a dual purpose. The equipment is protected and then the clothing is used.”

Vogel said the Rotary Club hopes its members will participate in the clothing drive and is also looking for participation from the community. Locals wishing to donate can take their donations to the Chestnut Street parking lot, located behind A Bit of Nature and in front of the St. Marys Community Public Library.

“Paige Canfield from a Bit of Nature and Chris Wibbenmeyer from Grand Lake Moving and Happy Home Bedding and Furniture have spearheaded this,” Vogel said. “(Wibbenmeyer) is providing one of his big moving trucks to collect all the clothing and they’re going to hold the drive in the city parking lot right behind (Canfield’s) store. It worked out well that we have a centered location to collect everything.”

Vogel noted that MESA will be sending its several shipments of clothing and medical equipment to Nigeria, Honduras and the Philippines.

“They’ll be sending the final medical equipment shipment for this particular project in September,” Vogel said. “They want to have 24,000 pounds of clothing by the time September comes.”

Vogel noted those who do not have infant clothing at home can still participate in the drive.

“Maybe they have friends and family that they can get items from,” Vogel said. “If they can’t help clothes-wise, they can give a monetary donation, by writing a check to St. Marys Rotary MESA Drive. With that, we hope to be able to buy additional diapers, sanitary items, ointments for babies and things like that won’t really get donated but we can go out and purchase.”

Vogel said the clothing drive fits in with this year’s Rotary theme, “Reaching In to Reach Out.”

“In order to be able to reach out to others, we have to be able to reach within ourselves — whether that’s finding time to work at a fundraiser event or doing something like this,” Vogel said. “We’re reaching within ourselves and going through our closets and reaching out to others by providing something that’s certainly needed.”