Over the last two weeks, I think everyone has had the chance to reevaluate what is really important in our lives. As I (Paul Andrus writing) have called and spoke with our club members to get to know them for next year, I am impressed with how many charitable projects they are already involved with on their own. I am proud of our members.
Some of these include providing for clothing for battered women, delivering food to the elderly, getting access to free food to be delivered through the Salaam Food Pantry to anyone without food, rescuing animals from research facilities that need to get rid of their animals as they temporarily shut down, providing biohazard suits to medical workers in hospitals, sewing face masks for people in general, etc. This has all gone on in the last two week with the members of our small club. Geeta & I are so proud of you all!
While these times may be rough, it is clear to me that tough times define people. Please take time to define yourself as someone who helps others in need during this time. You will feel great in doing so. This is not a call for people to violate the shelter at home rule, especially if you fall into that 60+ category, but here are things we all CAN do. One of our members is busy sewing face masks to be provided for people like the police, fire departments personnel and people working in the hospitals. There are many choices available. You could donate to our club and designate what the money is for – like providing biohazard suits to people working in the hospitals (Venmo). You tell us, we’ll help you accomplish it. Rotarians get things done.
One neat experience that happened this last two weeks was that my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, approved a grant for dry food worth $5,000 to be placed on an ‘order as needed account’ for the Islamic Center of Fremont’s Salaam Food Pantry for the year 2020. What amazing timing, because the day the order was filled and promised for the first $900 worth of food, due to food shortages, these grants went on temporary pause. We made the order in the nick of time (hours). You can see the empty shelves behind Naseer & Elder Catale at the Bishop’s Storehouse. These are normally full to the roof. Naseer Irfan came down to the Bishop’s Storehouse and picked up the food Wednesday evening. Talk about someone dedicated to serving our community! The majority of people benefiting are not Muslim – his wife (She play a big role in this pantry), Naseer and his kids serves anyone in need. Because of the rules to not congregate together, this morning they are out there doing 1) a grab and go for food and 2) hand delivering food to the homes of those that replied and need food to their group text in both English and Chinese languages.
While there are tough times, clearly we can see the humanity and caring that many individuals are showing through their actions like this. Our club is proud to be very diverse culturally, racially, religiously, ethnically, and professionally. If you want to find ways to get involved and help our community, reach out (FremontBridgeRotary@gmail.com) and we will find something for you to do that fits your circumstance and safety requirements.
Finally, this week we were able with the help of our district officers to redirect our club District Designated Funds towards biohazard suits for hospital workers. While we were only able to purchase 10 at around $60/each, it makes a difference for those 10 workers that are busy saving lives here near our homes.
Through taking care of each other, we can feel better during this rough time.

Naseer Irfan of the Islamic Center of Fremont (Salaam Food Pantry) with missionary Elder Catale at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Bishop’s Storehouse in San Jose
Rainy day at the Salaam Food Pantry as Naseer and volunteers provide one by one Grab Bags of dry food to bring home. They are also delivering food to people’s homes that cannot make it out to the food pantry to pick these bags up.
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