Rotary warms hands, heads with holiday drive

Photo by James Mitchell. Sheila Sowards (left), program director of The Guidance Center’s Head Start program, and volunteer Sally Jones accept donated hats and mittens from Rotary Club of Southgate President Stephen Ahles. The service organization annually collects more than 1,000 hats and mittens for low-income children enrolled in the center’s pre-school program.

Photo by James Mitchell. Sheila Sowards (left), program director of The Guidance Center’s Head Start program, and volunteer Sally Jones accept donated hats and mittens from Rotary Club of Southgate President Stephen Ahles. The service organization annually collects more than 1,000 hats and mittens for low-income children enrolled in the center’s pre-school program.

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE – Few things are more basic than keeping children warm during the winter months, and the Rotary Club of Southgate once again answered the bell with more than 1,000 donated hats and mittens during its annual campaign.

“Basic needs is one of our focus areas,” said Rotarian Fran Waszkiewicz, who helped coordinate this year’s collection. The international club’s “Service Above Self” motto drives the chapter’s annual events including a fishing derby for special needs students, book donations to Veterans Memorial Library, scholarships and “Happy Feet” to provide shoes for children in need.

Waszkiewicz said donations were accepted throughout the month at a dozen locations before being presented Dec. 10 to representatives from The Guidance Center’s Head Start program, a pre-school initiative for low-income families.

Southgate Rotary has long been a partner to the Guidance Center. About 1,300 children participate in Head Start programs, and for more than a dozen years Rotarians have collected about that many donations.

Donated hats and mittens were handed over last week to Guidance Center Program Director Sheila Sowards and volunteer Sally Jones during the club’s annual Christmas luncheon at Holiday Inn, 17201 North Line Road. The multi-club seasonal banquet included representatives of Rotary branches in Taylor, Lincoln Park and Allen Park, which have often launched cooperative projects together.

For information about The Guidance Center, Head Start and other community outreach programs go to www.guidance-center.org.

(James Mitchell can be reached at james.a.mitchell37@gmail.com.)

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