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Bulletin Editor
Arnie Goldman
Jan 28, 2022
Peace Corps Experience and Path to Favarh
Feb 04, 2022
Introduction of new Director
Feb 11, 2022
Feb 18, 2022
Feb 25, 2022
Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford
Mar 04, 2022
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Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Foundation Chair
Board Member-at-Large
Board Member-at-Large
Interact Chair
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
Fridays at 7:30 AM
Golf Club of Avon
160 Country Club Road
Avon, CT 06001
United States of America
(860) 760-6364
In person starting July 9, 2021. Zoom will also be available for those unable to attend in person.
District Site
Venue Map
Upcoming Meeting & Program:
December 10, 2021
Canton High School Choir
Sergeant-at-Arms Report\
Members Present: 34
Guests: Carl Geddo (Prospective Member); Steve Hornstein, (Guest of Larry Haber & Prospective Member); Caroline (Cal) Miller-Stevens, (Of Miller Farms & Prospective Member).
Speaker: Sarah Leathers
Visiting Rotarians: Dave Tedeschi (Assistant District Governor), Art Schaller (New Britain Rotary Club)
Happy Dollars: $21.00
Raffle Prize & Winner: $80.00 / Steve Morris
None, though there are remaining questions about whether a certain professional painter may be liable for a fine today.
Dale Bronson (12/3): "My speech is improving (after having had oral surgery) so I will muddle through! It's so great to be back, and to see all of you again! Ive been out since August having had surgery twice to remove cancer from my tongue. Thank you for all the calls, cards, Facebook messages and support: It's the best medicine of all. Today, on December 3rd many years ago, I was born in a land far away. I spent most of my life in education, then had a detour at FAVARH, which was great fun. I joined the Club in 2001, and served as president in 2008.  What I remember most from back then is Don Bonner approaching me with an idea and after, yada, yada, we had Tastes of the Valley! Thank you Don for coming up with that idea, as it is an important part of our Club. I want to also recognize Ann & Pat Clark, as Pat was my Rotary mentor, and buddy, and I miss him a lot. I've loved every part of being a Rotarian and look forward to many more years. By the way, yesterday Chuck told me I had to have a joke. But I'm retired so I have little exposure to jokes, and with Covid, we are not shmoozing as much so as to hear jokes. Nevertheless, my 11 year old grandaughter shared this: "Why does the chicken cross the road? Answer: I don't know either, but the chicken is tired of people questioning his motives." Thank you all."
Happy Dollars:
Bill Barnes noted that when Dale told that chicken joke 6 or 8 years ago, the question was still: "Why did the chicken cross the road?" but the answer was: "To show the squirrel it can be done", as Dale had unfortunately sent a squirrel to meet his Maker along the road on the way over.  "I'm happy to be here and to be able to get my weekly cholesterol fix, as I have bacon in my sandwich!" said Bill, who also noted that the Farmington Valley Symphony will perform Saturday night at Northwest Catholic High School. Finally, Bill reported that Valley Life recently featured a cover photo of a painting by the illustrious painter and Rotarian Don Bonner. Don added that he has painted the same scene for all 4 seasons and that the Nation Family had bought all 4 originals. Concluding Bill said, "Thank you Don we are proud as heck of you." Don further added that the Valley Book will soon feature 10 or 12 of his paintings.
Phil Ferrari, now mostly recovered from his efforts at defying gravity, noted that this shameless commercialism should really result in Don paying a hefty fine. That aside, Phil had a Happy Dollar for Brian O'Donnell who having had major surgery, is now cancer free and doing well. As a result, Brian unfortunately had to miss his expected Cancun vacation, but is grateful to be getting better every day..
Peter Vignati had fun bell ringing with Deb Altschuler as well as Hank and Jean Fry.
Art Schaller thanked the group for buying 40 wreaths, and indicated he had 20 of them in his car today. Art noted it was not cold enough until recently to ensure good quality of the wreaths, but he will replace any that may prove to be substandard. Get in touch with Art to replace any that dry or discolor prematurely.
Salin Low is happy that Art is here and also for our success at bell ringing. Hank Fry reported we collected over $1300.00, $82.00 more than in 2019, which is a new record. The next chance to add to our success will be December 18th. "It's good to be part of something that supports the Farmington Valley", said Salin.
Bob Cave also thanked Don for his painting and noted his Rotary name tag was changed to "painter."  Said Bob, "My tag says "flipper" but due to a delayed closing I may need to change it to "homeless!"
Sarah Leathers thanked the group for attending, here at the new home of Healing Meals. "So nice to have you all here" said Sarah.
Salin Low reminded members we will ring the Salvation Army bell in front of Walmart, Saturday, December 18th.
Sue Budde Announced she had flyers for the Dish-n-Dat Christmas celebration on behalf of needy families.  Continuing she said, "We are looking for nonperishable food, unwrapped teen gifts, warm clothing, and most importantly monetary donations for food for 350 people. We will shop for what comes up short, such as mittens. If you write your check to the Rotary Community Fund, it is tax deductible. We have only two Fridays to do this, so please act right away. At our next regular meeting just put all toy and food donations in the back of my and Chris Lamadrid's car on way into the Avon Golf Club."  Contact Sue or Dish-n-Dat to offer your help, cash donations, or toys.
Phil Ferrari, having earlier engaged veterinarian Arnie Goldman in a discussion about the anatomy of the elephant knee, and its possible similarities to his own damaged knees, waxed philosophically about his improving condition. Phil indicated he feels fortunate to just be standing today and added that, in the spirit of giving, we donate to the Salvation Army. Our donation will be presented at the WTIC store located at Avon Old Farms, with Phil accepting donations up to that date.  Phil and Don Bonner will be on the air with Ray Dunaway at that time. Our Club will match up to $1500.00 and Phil will be collecting again at next weeks regular meeting.
[Editor's Note: Having promised Phil to research what is unique about the knees of elephants, Arnie learned that in contrast to what some misguided individuals have told Phil, elephants do indeed have patellas, (i.e. kneecaps). What is unique about elephant knees however, is because of their need to support their great weight for long periods of time, elephant knees have a kind of "over center" feature which, once engaged, allows them to stand indefinitely without expending effort or energy. Indeed many hoofed quadrupeds (4 legged animals) have a similar feature, including horses and cattle. Learn more about elephant knees here:]
Rotary Christmas ornaments can be ordered by reaching out to Chris Lamadrid (  The cost of these beautiful commemorative ornaments is $10.00.  Ornaments should arrive by our meeting on December 17th.
Upcoming Meeting Schedule:
12/10:   Golf Club of Avon - Canton HS Choir
12/17:  Golf Club of Avon - Avon HS Choir
12/24:   NO Meeting - Christmas Eve
12/31:   NO Meeting - New Years Eve
None today.
Community and International Service Grants
None today.
Healing Meals
Sarah Leathers
Rauf Majidian, introduced Healing Meals' chief executive officer Sarah Leathers, and characterized her as having "taken a vision to heal others using food, and made it a reality." Continuing, Rauf said "Sarah is an inspirational leader who tells stories that inspire action while at the same time staying grounded in the financial and administrative reality that supports a sustainable business model. As founder and CEO of Healing Meals Community Project, Sarah works tirelessly every day to deliver on the organization's dual missions: to provide 100% organic meals to families facing health crises and, to empower youth volunteers with practical and leadership skills."
"A graduate of Union College with a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering, Sarah is also certified as a Health & Wellness Coach by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.  Sarah's passion for helping others, buttressed by her education, has led her to repeated successes in various roles in both the for-profit and the not-for-profit business sectors. Along the way Sarah has also emphasized working with youth. Sarah discovered the healing-power-of-food amidst a personal health crisis and since then has passionately championed the "food-as-medicine" philosophy in founding Healing Meals in Connecticut in 2015. Join me in welcoming today's speaker, Sarah Leathers...."
Sarah opened by thanking Rauf for his kind introduction. The founding of Healing Meals was inspired by Sarah's sister Catherine, who started the first food-as-medicine project in California, in 2007. Today, Connecticut's Healing Meals serves up to 5 meals a week (along with their signature "Healing Broth™") for up to 4 people in a family, while local youth, 14-years-old and above, learn healthy eating, leadership, communication and how good it feels to give back.
Begun in the kitchen of New England Pasta Company rent free, Healing Meals remained there for a year, before outgrowing that setting and moving to the North House.  Eventually we grew out of that setting too and subsequently moved to Avon Old Farms for three years. Outgrowing that, and after a long time searching, she contacted the owner of Tower Ridge Golf Club and he indicated that she was the first person interested in using their kitchen and he was thrilled to have her, though Healing Meals had to build out the space for their use.
Thereafter they painted, re-carpeted and built a new kitchen from scratch. During any given shift they have 12 to 16 people working together, who don't necessarily know each other, how to work together or even how to cook. With Covid it has been a challenge but this new space allows for great innovation because of its size and flexibility. In other spaces we served just 35 to 40 clients a week, whereas in this space we have been able to increase to up to 100 a week. Our capacity has grown along with the available space and now we regularly serve 80 to 85 people.
Healing Meals serves 50 towns using "delivery angels" who deliver meals from Storrs to Torrington and points both north and south. Involved youth are encouraged to think of a particular client while working in the kitchen, and the clients say they "feel the love" in the food they receive: They feel nourished and cared for. Each of our volunteer youth also write a note to one client every week to encourage them to persevere through their challenges. We are also always looking for adult volunteers, including from Rotary.
Sarah struggles with her need to step back from being hands on, to doing the work needed to grow the organization as a whole. As of today Healing Meals has served 85,000 meals in total, with 20,000 served this year alone. Next year they aim to serve 35,000 meals, and are also lobbying to change public policy such that food is seen as a medical intervention, and therefore reimbursable. We are also now serving pregnant women who are food insecure, to pre-empt subsequent neonatal health issues related to poor maternal nutrition.
Sarah read a grateful client's thank you note, which said: "To all who give up their time and energy I extend my sincere gratitude. I would never have dreamed of an organization doing what this one is doing. I never would have thought beyond a food pantry. There are so many older people caring for an ill spouse and also many living alone. When my husband had a stroke, my time was consumed taking him to doctors with no time to think about healthy meals or caring for myself. Then I was diagnosed with cancer, and while my sister helped me for a time she eventually had to go back to her own life. Then while in the hospital on one occasion I was asked about Healing Meals, which I'd not heard of. Now I have healthy meals available for my husband and me at a time when I have little money and less energy to take care of both of us. I so appreciate the healthy meals and the kind notes from those involved. Knowing that kids are involved just adds to how good it all makes me feel."
"When I read such a note to the kids", Sarah said, "and in telling them, 'you did that', it is deeply meaningful to them."
As of now, 75 kids have earned their 'blue aprons" signifying 50 hours of service, and 25 more have earned their "chefs coat", signifying 100 hours of service. Our Board of Directors includes 4 youth members and they regularly share their energetic vision and desire to grow the organization. The young people often also use their individual creativity to add unique elements to the program including painting a mural inside the main work area and creating promotional videos. Some youth also mentor our adult volunteers which for the youth, is often a very maturing experience. Adults can earn a green apron after 85 hours of service.
Nationally we are 1 of 8 Healing Meals affiliates doing this same work, and the executive directors gather monthly by video conference to strategize how to improve our organizations. Together we have created a cookbook which is available for purchase.
For the first 2 1/2 years of operations we provided all our meals for free, but to achieve sustainability, those with some resources are asked to pay something, based on a means test of their household income. Thus, at 200% of the Federal poverty level families receive meals for free, those between 200% to 300% pay $10.00 a week, and those between 300% - 500% pay $25.00 per week.
Peter Vignati reported that his sister received great support from Healing Meals during her illness. Yet the program is limited to 12 weeks and Peter asked what happens afterwards? Sarah stated that this issue is the hardest for us, but during Covid we actually kept people on for 40 to 50 weeks. Today, after 12 weeks people transition to paying something. We also have a 12-week wellness and nutrition program that helps them in their transition to being completely 'on their own.'
Healing Meals' funding comes from grants (40%), the Hartford Marathon ($140,000.00 raised this year) and individual donations. Following her comments, and questions and answers, Sarah led attending Rotarians on a tour of the Healing Meals' kitchen and associated preparation areas.
Rotarian Bob 'Flipper" Cave signifies his approval of the Healing Meals' kitchen facilities.
Learn more about Healing Meals at:

Special Announcements: None this week.
Mail Bag: None this week.
Photo Credits: Arnie Goldman
Editor's Notes: Submission Deadline: Members are kindly encouraged to submit all materials directly to the week's designated editor for inclusion in that week's Early Riser, and to do so as early as possible. Please note that some editions may be published and distributed as early as the Saturday following the most recent meeting, and therefore further contributions will not be included in that week's edition.
“The FOUR-WAY TEST of the things we think, say or do”:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all Concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?