Rotary Club joins SMH to donate clothing, supplies to island kids

By Charles Ruiz De Castilla….

Rotarians Linda Kaplin (left) and Karen Vassell are pictured with Jamaican children in Montego Bay.

The Rotary Club of South Miami recently partnered with South Miami Hospital for the Caribbean Charity for Children service project at the SOS Village in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and the Home for Children in Nassau, Bahamas. These are government-run homes for children without guardians.

While employees of South Miami Hospital donated new clothing, shoes, basic hygiene items and school supplies, the Rotary Club of South Miami contributed funds and coordinated the distribution of the items to the children living at the home. Additionally, the Rotary Club worked with Rotary clubs in Montego Bay so that those clubs could also support the effort with donations and volunteers.

A joint contingency — led by Rotarian Karen Vassell, Special Projects and Community Relations manager of South Miami Hospital, and Rotarian Linda M. Kaplan, Service Committee chair of Rotary Club of South Miami — traveled to Jamaica in July to deliver the items to more than 200 children living at the SOS Village. The distribution took place at a Fun Day picnic where the children also got to participate in games and other activities.

Vassell and six volunteers from South Miami Hospital also attended a picnic in Nassau. They brought care packages for 100 children who live in three government-run homes.

Charity for Children initially began in 2004 as a South Miami Hospital Employee Activity Committee to help hurricane relief efforts. Today the program is coordinated and run by the Rotary Foundation of South Miami Inc. and South Miami Hospital. This partnership has become extremely beneficial for all involved, especially the children.

This international service project will not only benefit Rotary Club of South Miami, it also will give Rotarians the satisfaction of knowing that their contribution is touching the lives of these children who desperately need their help.

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