Rotary Chili Cook-Off set for January 21, 2018

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Pinecrest resident Greg Martini, of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, takes on Chili Cook-Off for his Rotary Club again, an event he actually started as club president. Save the date, Sunday, January 21, at Fred B. Hartnet Ponce Circle Park just south of Miracle Mile. This event is the 3rd annual cook off that attracts participants from all over the county and is a day packed full of fun with live entertainment, cash prizes for winning chili and crowd favorites, games and lots of great food and drink.

More information will be available soon for those who want to enter or support with sponsorships.
In other news, after 41 years, The Giving Tree, a gift and yarn store in Coral Gables will be closing its doors. Owner, Joan Reitsma, who also happens to be a Gables Rotarian, in keeping with her store name, has supported countless charities over the years and is holding a series of benefits for local charities giving 20 percent of total sales for sales event back to the organizing charities. Best of all, customers are getting a minimum of 25 percent off all merchandise and some items are discounted even more. Jim Shore and Precious Moments collectibles, for example, are buy one get one free. There are lots of new Christmas items from which to choose as well. Coral Gables Children’s “Free” Dental Clinic has already benefited.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 19, for a big sale day at The Giving Tree to benefit A Safe Haven for Newborns. Join the fun, enjoy refreshments and socializing while shopping for the holidays with Safe Haven’s Marti Bueso and lots of other volunteers. The Giving Tree is located at 248 Giralda Avenue and the event will be held from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

By the way, other charities around town wishing to hold similar events are encouraged to contact Joan at 305-527-3204.

In other club news, many South Florida Rotarians impress with their involvement in outreach. Almost every Sunday in Homestead you will find South Miami Rotarians Jeff McNabb, of E group Communications, and Ernesto Lafontaine, of Cheney Brothers, along with fellow Rotarians helping distribute food and assistance to Migrant workers and the homeless. Jeff and Ernesto do this in conjunction with Los Servidores del Servidor, a religious charity that strives to help the underserved, giving them back their dignity and helping as best they can serve God’s children.

South Miami Rotarians also participated in an Air Potato Assault at Matheson Hammock on August 5th. Volunteers checked out old hot-spots before they recovered from our prior attacks from the air potato. The survivors had begun to re-sprout, and seed potatoes were everywhere. Air Potato is incredibly destructive It actually smothers the whole ecosystem under a dense blanket of leaves, including the top-most canopy. The weight of the seed potatoes can break branches and tree tops. Sam Van Leer, of Urban Paradise Guild South Florida UPG, was delighted to have Jeff McNabb, who was very experienced, along with Sebastian Lafontaine, Mike Sutta, Susan Sutta and Franca Berti help out that day.

Likewise, Gables Rotarians do monthly bingo games with refreshments and prizes at the Veterans Administraion Hospital and most recently sent a group of a dozen or so to serve meals at the Chapman Partnership for the Homeless, which was hard work but most rewarding.

Finally, Marc Jaiden Foundtion has just sent off a huge group of opthamologists and other volunteers on a mission to provide eye surgeries as well as screenings and glasses for those in great need in Rivas, Nicaragua. On August 6 alone, they treated 1,000 people. Hats off to Marc Barbier and his amazing Foundation and volunteers for their gift of sight to so many.

Until next time, keep making each day count.

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Active in many non profits, she received numerous awards across the community. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, where she sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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