Helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is the central focus of Rotary Club of Mid-City New Orleans. Every year, we receive a grant from the Rotary Foundation and raise funds to assemble survivor packs for the New Orleans Family Justice Center and Sexual Trauma Awareness Response. Each survivor pack includes a change of clothes, toiletry items, and a note pad. Victims receiving a pack may have had to flee an unsafe situation without their belongings or visit the hospital to receive a forensic exam where their clothing may be collected as evidence. Survivor pack recipients can take showers, put on fresh clothing and avoid having to leave the hospital wearing a paper gown. This provides some comfort during a traumatic time and helps with the healing process. This year we provided 250 survivor packs to the New Orleans Family Justice Center.
Spoker Poker is our annual fall fundraiser to raise money for survivor pack supplies. It is a Saturday afternoon bar crawl and poker run through Mid-City on bikes. Participants make a donation and bike to five different Mid-City bars drawing a playing card at each location. The participant with the winning poker hand wins 10% of the money collected. Spoker Poker is always a fun event that keeps people coming back year after year.
International Women’s Day has always been an important event for Rotary Club of Mid-City New Orleans. This year we commemorated the day with an International Women’s Day Happy Hour at the Ruby Slipper on Broad Street. Prominent women from the community served drinks as celebrity bartenders and donated their tips to the New Orleans Family Justice Center. We also coordinated our survivor pack assembly with the event so all attendees would have the opportunity to help put together a survivor pack.
The Crescent City Cafe is an independent, grassroots organization based in New Orleans that is led by a team of volunteers and supported by donations. Their mission is to serve breakfast to New Orleans’ homeless and low-income residents with dignity and to connect young adults together in service to our community. Rotary Club of Mid-City New Orleans volunteers as a club at the Cafe four times throughout the year. Members also sign up to volunteer individually as their schedule permits. Our members really enjoy the experience volunteering at the Cafe serving as hosts, servers, bussers, cooks, and dishwashers.
Girls Hope Dinner Parent Night takes place on the second Monday of every month at 5:15pm. Boys Hope Girls Hope helps academically capable and motivated children-in-need to meet their full potential by providing value-centered, family-like homes, opportunities and education through college. Members of the Rotary Club of Mid-City New Orleans plan and cook a monthly dinner for the girls living in the Girls Hope house. When the meal is ready, the members join the girls around the table for dinner and conversation. This year the club meals are themed “breakfast for dinner” including selections such as pancakes and breakfast casserole.
Story Time takes place the third Monday of every month at the Mid-City Library at 6:00pm. The Rotary Club of Mid-City New Orleans partnered with the Mid-City Library to present this monthly story time for community children and families. Member volunteers read several of their favorite books to the children and coordinate a craft activity themed for the season. Pizza is donated by Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza and members donate bottled water. Story time has a regular following and the children and their families really enjoy the experience.
Planting Trees is a priority for many of our members. Rotary Club of Mid-City New Orleans has partnered with the organization SOUL (Sustaining Our Urban Landscape) to sponsor trees and to serve at volunteer events alongside other organizations and members of the community during planting season.