Posted by Shelly Duben on May 16, 2019
Saralyn Howard is proud to serve this year as the president of the Rotary Club of Timmins-Porcupine. This club has been active in the community since 1949 and is the result of an amalgamation of two former clubs.
This year the club embarked on a fun new initiative called the Rotary Gold Mine Weekly 50/50 draw, fashioned after a club in Sackville, New Brunswick. Each week, players put a toonie with their designated number in one of several boxes at retailers across town. On Monday nights the boxes are collected and all the toonies are counted. A number is drawn and if the person with that number played their toonie, they win 50% of the weekly profit. The Rotary club keeps 25% and donates the other 25% to the pre-determined charity of the week. This has been a lot of work for many members, but everyone enjoys it and it has helped the club’s publicity in town and on Facebook where videos of the draws are posted. The best part of the draws is that the charity of the week sends volunteers to count the toonies, so the club gets to meet so many volunteers from different clubs and organizations in the community, including the YMCA, Cochrane Timiskaming Children’s Treatment Centre, Project Love, and many more. 
Another major fundraiser is Lobsterfest, which is held each May and supports the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, so they can continue their music education in the community.  Club members volunteer at Bingos, and host a “Beer 4 a Year” draw.  They also help at events in the community such as Guiho’s Party to Ride, a concert to mark summer!
To put all these funds to work, the club makes several donations to different charities in the community. This year members are looking at starting a Rotary Park, in partnership with the Mattagami Region Conservation Authority (MRCA). This will be an area by the river where families will be able to fish from a dock, have a BBQ or just relax under the proposed gazebo. The final plans will be decided once the never-ending snow melts completely and water levels settle. They have worked with the MRCA on cleaning up trails and helping with the Friends of Grassy River. 
Every year the club makes donations to The Rotary Foundation, Polio Plus and Shelter Box. They support the local food banks, the Lords Kitchen by sponsoring a meal and serving food, and the women’s shelter by sponsoring two families at Christmas. 
They support the St John Therapy Dogs, Timmins Falcons girls’ hockey team, the Therapeutic Riding association, Camp Bickell which sends underprivileged kids to camp, Sports for Kids, and the Porcupine Music Festival by sponsoring a music scholarship. They sponsor wreaths at the Remembrance Day parades every year. Many other charities in the community are helped every year by this Rotary club. Internationally, they have supported RELAY and HHART in recent years, as well as various projects through other Rotary clubs and the local college. 

A few years ago the club helped the city by sponsoring historic statues from the Gold Mine Tour to be relocated around town. It sponsored the clock tower at the Hollinger Park, as well as an enclosure for the pavilion there. The club also created a Rotary trail and Rotary gardens. 
For the past few years the club has had a great time putting a float in the Santa Clause Parade, decorating according to the theme of the year. Last year was “Around the World” so the club put up Rotary banners that have been exchanged over the past 70 years. 

The Rotary Club of Timmins-Porcupine sends students to RYLA every year, including 5 this year. Next year will be the first time in six years that the club is participating in the long term youth exchange, and is very excited to be part of it again. Their outbound student will be going to the most northern part of Norway, and they will be hosting a student from Italy. Every year the club gives scholarships to local students attending post-secondary education who portray the values of Rotary, as decided by essay style applications. 

This year the club hosted a “Change the Narrative” event in conjunction with the Northeastern Catholic District School Board and HIP (Honoring Indigenous Peoples), where the community was invited to an evening showing of the first episode of First Contact, followed by an Indigenous panel for questions. In the fall they will be helping distribute welcome boxes to students who are billeted in Timmins from neighboring communities. 
Members hope to successfully apply for a district grant to purchase an oxygen monitor for the pediatric ward at the Timmins and District Hospital, a strong need realized this past year. 
A recent strategic planning session will hopefully help the club prioritize and build their membership.  This small club of 14, along with honorary members, makes a significant impact in the community. If you are ever visiting the Timmins area on a Tuesday, club members would love to have you join them at their meeting at the Timmins Police Station at 185 Spruce Street South at 7 pm. 
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