The Kutztown Rotary Charitable Foundation and Rotary Club of Kutztown celebrated the donation of funds to local non-profit organizations during a virtual event in November.

“The charitable organizations that were supported are all struggling this year due to the COVID restrictions, similar to Rotary, but we are encouraged with the creativity of these organizations to continue to support the community during these trying times. Rotary hopes that these donations help them continue with their missions,” said current president Connie Werley, past president Kurt Rohrbach and president-elect Tom Kulp in a combined statement.

The Kutztown Rotary Club and Charitable Foundation donated more than $20,000 to area non-profit organizations.

“The Foundation agreed that it was more important than ever to continue our annual donation to non-profit organizations. Although the donation to each organization was slightly less than last year we wanted to be supportive,” they said.

This year’s charities included: Allentown Rescue Mission; Brandywine Heights Community Task Force; Burn Prevention Foundation; Friend, Inc Community Services; Lyons Volunteer Fire Company; Kutztown Community Choir; Kutztown Area Historical Society; Kutztown Strong; Kutztown Library; Kutztown Fire and Rescue; and Topton Fire Co #1.

Representatives from the non-profit groups were invited to attend the virtual celebration which included a program explaining Rotary Club services and fundraising activities of the Club and Foundation. 

Recipients unable to attend the event were Kutztown, Lyons, and Topton Fire Companies, and Allentown Rescue Mission.

Invited participants addressed club members on behalf of their organization to tell a little about the organization and the specific challenges they experienced this year in light of the pandemic.

Most of the organizations discussed reduced programming due to lack of funds, but were also very positive about how they have adapted to redirecting how they were delivering services through virtual programming as well as the innovative ideas they came up with to raise funds. 

“The significance to continue our charitable giving to these non-profits is to show community support. We know how much businesses and especially non-profits were impacted during these unprecedented times,” said Werley, Rohrbach and Kulp. “During 2020, it has been difficult to raise the much needed funds that all non-profits count on for their programs. We heard so many of them speak of the creative ways they have continued to provide their services to others. We are all in this together.”

The major fundraiser of the Kutztown Rotary Club to support community donations is normally the Taste of Kutztown along with its Run for the Wine event held in June. This year the event was cancelled, but the Rotary Club was able to continue supporting charities in the community.

“The Foundation maintains reserve funds in the event of a poor fundraising year such as this. We dug into those reserves to support our local charities during this time of exceptional need,” they said.

In addition, Rotary’s southeastern PA district 7430 received a disaster relief grant from Rotary International. The Kutztown Rotary Club applied for and received a portion of those funds to assist the local food bank.

“There were also a very few sponsors and vendors that told us to keep their Taste of Kutztown donation for 2020, which we put toward the funds,” they said. “Lastly, without our main fundraiser (the Taste of Kutztown), the Rotary Club held smaller fundraisers to supplement our funds and continue with our support of these very worthwhile organizations.”

In addition to these donations, the Kutztown Rotary also awards scholarships to a student each from Kutztown High School and Brandywine Heights Area High School and provides monetary and volunteer support throughout the year to other community organizations.

The Kutztown Rotary Club participates in both international and local charitable and volunteer contributions annually. At the local level, members of the Kutztown Rotary Club participate in Student of the Month for Brandywine and Kutztown high schools, community activities through KCP and community clean-up events, local food bank events through Friend and Opportunity House, and The Potato Project. The Club also sponsors student programs for academic scholarships and leadership training as well as Farmers’ Night to show appreciation to local farmers.

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