Scott LaRonde welcomed members and guests as they joined the Zoom meeting.
 
President Joel Ivy called the meeting to order. Mike Loudon led the invocation, pledge, and Four-Way Test.
 
Trey Harden handled introduction of guests and visiting Rotarians, who were: Ryan McKellen, guest of Gwen Allen, Shannon Eikenberg (a Kiwanian!), guest of Roxanne Bonta, and Cheryl Kelley. Doug McCall from the Rotary Club of Wallasey, England was a visiting Rotarian.
 
Happy Dollars kicked off with President Joel being happy to have presented for $25,000 to the City Commission for AEDs, which is the result of proceeds from Spring Obsession and the gold outing. He gave a big thank you to everyone who participated in all the different fund-raising events for the entire year.  Don Selvage reminded everyone about Election Day for the City Commission special election.  Roxanne Bonta gave a shout-out to Lakeland Electric for a fabulous job with the new poles on Clubhouse Road. Jim Russell and wife Diane are excited to welcome their 2nd grandson, Emory, and his mom Stephanie Bowes is doing great. Amanda Walls congratulated both Michelle Ledford and Chuck McDanal for winning Business Woman and Business Man of the Year and Dick Mason for winning the George Jenkins Award at the Chamber of Commerce Honors event last week.
 
President Joel announced that we will receive an email poll about going back to FUMC for our weekly club meeting. To make it happen, we need to know how many will attend and how many will eat lunch. There will be a need for volunteers to participate in serving the food, as FUMC lost some of its employees due to catering having been shut down for so long. He also reminded us about next week’s hybrid meeting and to look out for an email about more lunch options at 1916. 
 
President Joel also reminded the club about the proposed bylaw changes announced last week, the Anniversary Dinner scheduled for June 22, 2021, and a team trivia fellowship event on May 27th at 6:00 PM at The Heights.
 
Irma Cole announced updates for the Rotary Cares a Ton Challenge. Our club is in 10th place out of 22 clubs with 14 members participating.  31 tons have been collected district wide.  If you want to participate with a financial contribution, tell Irma the amount or 5 pounds per $1 donated.  Send Irma an email regarding the weight of the donation (irmacole26@gmail.com).  Irma also reminded us about preordering Rotary Florida license plate tags for $33. 
 
Irma Cole also gave an update on the STARS Project.  Last Saturday trees were trimmed, weeds were pulled and general cleanup took place at the Carl G. Schowe Boys & Girls Club trailer behind Crystal Lake Elementary School.  The STARS Class will work again on May 22nd, starting at 8:30 AM and all club members are welcome to help the group.
 
Michael Huff then introduced Lana Swartzwelder, Chief Executive Officer from The Libertore Fund for Children, Inc. Lana Swartzwelder is a lifetime educator and businesswoman, has been involved with educating students and working with families and children for over 40 years. She is proud to be a part of her family foundation as CEO and excited to have this opportunity to continue being actively involved in making a change in the lives of children in need.
 
The Libertore Fund for Children, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides grants and resources for non-profit agencies that offer services for our most vulnerable and at-risk children. The fund focuses on helping children overcome obstacles that threaten their minds, bodies and hopes.
 
Lana shared her observations about the effects of the pandemic including increasing need for services to prevent child abuse, assist in children’s mental health, alleviate child hunger, and combat student homelessness in Polk.
 
Who is caring for our most vulnerable?  The heroes are nonprofit agency leaders and staff that kept programs and services going during the pandemic.