The reality of Rotary: find a need and fill it.  Rotary Clubs around the world, from the smallest with a few members to the largest with hundreds, are incessantly in search of the need, whether it is a project or an initiative, in their communities.  Then they go to work to take leadership, bring together other groups, and develop resources to fill the need.  That is what your Kingston North Kitsap Rotary Club is about as we begin 2021.

Innocent us.  A year ago at this time, we were reading something about a virus that hit a care home in Kirkland.  As the month of February, 2020 developed, so did information about the virus.  Worst of all fears were realized.  We were dealing with a pandemic. Italy got it bad.  Then Spain.  The rest of Europe.  And here in the U.S.  Here in Kitsap.  Here in Kingston.  Covid-19 was a red light flashing NEED, NEED, NEED.  It took many months to know masks were good.  That it was not necessary to sanitize your groceries after a trip to Albertson’s.  It was better to be outdoors than in.  Social distance.  Stay in your pod.  That’s what we learned.  And thanks to “Warp Speed,” amazingly, vaccines were on the way. 

As vaccines begin to take us to herd immunity, out of the Covid-19 pandemic, a group of Kingston North Kitsap Rotarians, led by the Club’s President-elect, Chris Gilbreath, began researching how best to meet needs created by Covid in our community.  In face-to-face meetings, and digitally, Gilbreath met with dozens of community organizations and businesses.  To hear about “the need.” Food insecurity is a need.  So too, housing insecurity.  There is a need for vaccination support, and vaccination knowledge.  What about the student learning gap?  Homeless youth.  And local business insecurity.  Other needs uncovered were mental health effects of Covid, rental and eviction insecurity, child care, and the safe behaviors of all. 

A recent survey of active Kingston Rotarians weighed their sense of most important needs here.  Not surprisingly, food insecurity was the most cited need, followed by local vaccination support and knowledge, and business insecurity.  The recently completed survey will form the foundation of the Club’s action steps to take a leadership role in Kingston North Kitsap to meet the needs.  Some of the needs, vaccination and information, are short-term.  Some, like food and housing insecurity, are long-term.  As the plan is developed in the next few weeks, like minded groups and organizations will be invited to join the Rotary initiative.  What Rotary does.  Take a leadership role, organize, and take action.