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Greetings from District Governor Billy Roberts
I hope, with a variety of festive events coming up, that you’ve taken steps to protect yourself and loved ones from COVID.  The appearance of the Omicron variant is a reminder that we need to be very vigilant in our battle with this dreaded disease!  Appropriately, the Rotary International theme for the month of December is Disease Prevention and Treatment.
 
While we deal with the immediate threat of COVID, we shouldn’t lose sight of Rotary’s heroic effort to eliminate polio from the planet. With help from the Gates foundation, we’ve made great strides in containing the last outbreak, and today, there are only a hand-full of cases of this once dreaded disease left in just two countries in the world—Afghanistan and Pakistan. If every club pitches in, the battle can be won!  I urge you and your club to help. And remember that PolioPlus means that the system we’ve carefully built to battle Polio reaching into the most rural communities and villages across the planet will also be utilized to battle against other diseases like Malaria, Ebola and COVID. To learn more about what you can do, please contact Henry Atterbury of the Chariho Club, who is the District Polio Plus Campaign Chair.
 
From my family to yours, I hope you have a healthy, happy and fun-filled season.  Our best wishes to you for a Glorious Hannukah, a Blissful Bodhi Day, a Joyful Kwanzaa and a Merry Christmas!  As we welcome the Winter Solstice let all festivities and festivals reflect the spirit of selfless service in our communities.
 
 
 
A challenge we can all meet.
 
With Polio on the ropes, we all need to pitch in so that the disease can be eliminated before any mutations occur.  Our District PolioPlus team is looking into successful programs in other districts and has found that one of the most effective ways to raise money is to create an End Polio club, where individual Rotarians commit to giving $100 a year until the disease is exterminated.  “It’s an easy win.” says District PolioPlus Chair Henry Atterbury of the Chariho Club, “$100 isn’t hard to commit to—that’s about $2 a week—so we hope that every Rotarian in our District will participate.”
 
The details of the challenge will be released next month, but some clubs, like Providence, have already started signing up members.
 
“We need to keep up our commitment until we finish this task.” says Atterbury, “The end is in sight—I think Polio will be gone from the planet in just a few years if we all do our bit.”
A novel PolioPlus campaign in Area 4. 
Joel Kopke, Assistant Governor for Area 4, encouraged his clubs to participate in a creative way to raise funds for the PolioPlus campaign called the Purple Pinkie Project. On October 24th, in countries around the world, every child who was administered a polio vaccine by a Rotary volunteer dipped their pinkie in purple dye.  Participating clubs and Interact Clubs promoted a parallel effort where donors gave $1 and dyed their pinkies purple in a sign of support.
 
While the initial Purple Pinkie Project was scheduled for World Polio Day, Kopke says that it’s a simple fundraiser that can be scheduled at any time.  “If you work with a school or a PTA, you can get hundreds of children and their parents with purple dyed pinkies walking around town.” he says, “People ask questions about the dyed pinkies and that builds awareness of polio and Rotary’s PolioPlus program.”
 
To learn more about the Purple Pinkie Project, email Joel Kopke at joel.kopke@gmail.com.
 
Send us your stories.
 
If you’re planning a Polio Plus fundraiser, let us know—we ‘d like to share your ideas and success in the next District Bulletin.
 
We’re always looking for great stories about the work of our District Clubs. If you’ve hosted a fundraiser or service project you’re particularly proud of, please send a brief summary of the project—your goals, what you did and what you accomplished, plus a high resolution picture or two to District Public Image Chair Bruce Rutter.  He can be reached at brucerutter@comcast.net.   
 
Be safe!
 
In this time of CVID, we urge you to do everything you can to be safe.  Recognizing that not everyone can or may want to be vaccinated, we encourage clubs to host hybrid meetings, where members have a choice of participating in person or via a virtual meeting such as Zoom. For more information on hybrid meetings, visit our website's Hybrid Meetings Guide shared by District 7780. If you have IT questions, contact Patrick Wendell, our District Technology expert—he’ll be happy to help.  You can reach him at patrickwendell@wendellmarketing.com or cell:774-836-0467.
Russell Hampton
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