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100 years of service

February 20, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

HAGERSTOWN

julieg@herald-mail.com

Approximately 150 people celebrated the 100th birthday of Rotary International at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday night with food, fellowship and philanthropy.

The county's five Rotary clubs - Hancock, Williamsport, Sunrise, Longmeadow and Hagerstown - donated $1,000 toward Rotary District 7350's A Million Meals project in honor of Rotary's centennial.

A Million Meals will do just that - provide a million meals to school-age children for the cost of a dime a day, meaning the $1,000 will pay for 10,000 meals, District Governor Kelly Wike said.

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The district has raised more than $40,000 toward the $100,000 goal so far, Wike said. Officials are arranging for the first 250,000 meals to be delivered to Africa.

The second 250,000 meals will go to tsunami relief, Wike said. The third 250,000 meals will go to food banks in the district, which consists of parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The final 250,000 meals will go to poverty-stricken areas of West Virginia and, if need be, Kentucky and Tennessee, she said.

Rotary was started by Paul P. Harris on Feb. 23, 1905, in Chicago when Harris, an attorney, wanted "to recapture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth," according to www.rotary.org.

Rotary began in Washington County 90 years ago with what now is called Hagerstown Rotary, formerly the downtown Rotary, Rotarian Chuck Thornton said.

Since Rotary began in the county, Paul Harris Fellows have donated $377,501.58 to the Rotary International Foundation, said Charlie King, assistant district governor. An initial $1,000 donation is required to become a Paul Harris Fellow.

The foundation uses the money for various programs such as scholarships, student exchange, group study and community grants, King said.

The five local Rotary clubs hold a variety of fund-raisers to contribute money to various local charities, schools, parks and others, local Rotary officials said.

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