Past District Governor Joyce Gunter (left) and Assistant District Governor Lesley Zajac (right) delivering their donations.

Numerous local nonprofit organizations such as Feeding Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries and much more received an abundant amount of donations during the Rotary Cares A Ton Challenge, which began on March 1 and ended on May 31. A total of 25 Rotary Clubs participated in this challenge with 74.5 tons of household goods, clothes and more donated, equaling 149,084 pounds overall. These 74.5 tons far surpassed the 50 tons goal.

This Rotary Cares A Ton Challenge project was started by a member of the Rotary Club of Auburndale. This year, the club decided to challenge all Rotary Clubs in Rotary District 6890. Specifically, Rotary District 6890 encompasses Rotary Clubs in Hillsborough, Hardee, Highlands and Polk Counties. With it being a district-wide challenge, everyone worked toward a common good by also fulfilling “Service Above Self,” one of Rotary’s official mottoes, which ties into the club’s mission.

Linda Johnson, assistant governor of Rotary District 6890, explained how the idea of this year’s challenge came into fruition: “With the challenges brought forth by COVID-19, we were hearing from various Rotarians how their clubs could not do the normal club fundraisers, activities and projects they were used to doing.”

With the challenge itself, Rotarians had several simple rules to adhere to. For instance, the clubs appointed a club representative to keep track of their donations in pounds. The clubs also encouraged Rotarians within their clubs to donate household goods, clothes and more that one could equate to pounds to then be donated to the charitable organizations of their choice. Donated items were delivered while utilizing all of the safety protocols and guidelines. These are a few examples of the rules for this challenge.

Rotary Club of FishHawk-Riverview won the challenge with a total of 366.9 lbs. per capita in donations.

District Governor Elect Deborah Williams shared her thoughts about the club winning first place, saying, “With FishHawk-Riverview being such a diverse club, we have willing hearts and passionate souls to help others no matter how near or far the people are in our lives and community.”

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.