Rotary Clubs are finding ways to serve and to provide fellowship despite COVID-19


From standing in line in the cold to purchase toilet paper for an Edmonton intercity agency, to raising funds for organizations that support people in need, Rotarians across our District are finding ways to serve, despite regular meetings being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a recent article, we described what the pandemic has meant at the District level, including suggestions for how clubs can meet virtually and continue to serve their communities. 

Individual clubs have accepted the challenge of finding ways to help communities locally and around the world to meet new needs defined by the COVID-19 and how they continue to provide fellowship opportunities for Rotarians and their families.

After learning about that the Operation Friendship Seniors Centre was running low in paper products, members of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Riverview lined up in -14C weather outside a Costco store to purchase what OF needed—$400 worth of toilet paper.

The club also donated $2,000 to help the centre provide meals for its clients.

President-elect Lora Lee Peaslee, who in November led a team to Belize to teach impoverished women to sew, is using her own skills to sew face masks as a fundraiser for the club. Contact Lora Lee at to place an order for masks.

Riverview has also become the international partner of Club Rotario Tomebamba in Cuenca, Ecuador, which has prepared a Global Grant application to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) for health-care workers in that city. While Ecuador has domestic manufacturers for both masks and gowns, the government lacks the funds to pay for them.

On a per-capita basis, Ecuador is leading South America in numbers of confirmed cases and deaths. Sixteen hundred health professionals in that country have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 10 have died.

So far, Riverview has raised more than $10,000 to support this initiative. If you wish to donate, contact former club president Paul Dusseault ( or 780-566-7343) or send a cheque payable to Rotary Club of Edmonton Riverview (indicate “For Cuenca Medical Supplies”) to 14011-91 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB, T5R 4Y1.

For several years, the Tomebamba club has provided logistical support to Riverview’s annual medical/dental mission to Cuenca.