Posted by Keith Reed
Chair Bob Baker called the meeting to order and Barb led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Bob Sanfilippo gave us an 1842 quote from philosopher William James—“Life is worth living and one’s belief in same will help it be fact”.  Our 2 guests were Mary McLaughlin and Natasha Norris from the Trees That Feed Foundation (herein TTFF) who presented our program for the meeting.  There were 16 members present with Fred and Robert joining us on Zoom.
   ANNOUNCEMENTS: Our Rotary Club was number one in our District for contributions to the International Rotary Foundation for the years 2022 and 2023.  Barb explained the 20th Annual MLK Day of Service celebration at the WCH on January 15 from 11 am to 2 pm.  There will be “hands on service projects” to benefit veterans, hospitalized children & adults, seniors and orphaned animals.  Attendees are also encouraged to bring fabric and equipment to help make a blanket for a needy cause.  Bob mentioned that the Club is planning a special event at the WCH the evening of June 6th to celebrate the 100th anniversary of our Club.  Bob also reported that the Club’s Board has made a decision on who they will recommend to be the President and Vice President of our Club for the next two years.
   HAPPY BUCKS:  Liz gave Happy Bucks in order to make up for all the Club meetings she has recently had to miss.  Wes gave for the good attendance that the Club meetings have recently enjoyed. Moha gave to celebrate his recent Moroccon relief effort which collected two truck loads of food for 70 needy families.  Tony gave due to his recent excellent outcome of an unexpected appendix procedure. Bob Sanfilippo gave in recognition of Heather Higgins’ death and her contribution to the Club over her many years.
   DIG and GRIN—Fred handled this on Zoom but started with his heart felt gratitude for the Michigan Wolverines’ success in post-season play and that Coach Harbaugh didn’t have to watch the games from his home!!
   SPEAKER MARY MCLAUGHLIN—Activity of the “Trees That Feed Foundation”.  In the December 2023 “Northfield Living” magazine, there was a very interesting 3 page article describing the activities of the  TTFF and its founders, Mike and Mary McLaughlin, Winnetka residents whose passion for both the environment and community welfare has blossomed into a  powerful force for positive change.  The foundation has planted more than 300,000 trees across countries in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.
   Mary grew up in Jamaica and her father bought a fruit forest farm there when she was 8 years old.  It was devoid of traditional crops or animals but was made up of fruit trees that grew avocados, mangoes, guavas and tamarind fruit.  Once these fruit trees were planted, the focus shifted to harvesting and marketing the bounty, with the added challenge of preserving excess fruit. This type of fruit forest farm offered a pathway out of poverty, particularly for women farmers, and with no tilling of soil needed, it was environmentally friendly and bountiful with fruits galore.
   TTFF was started by Mary and her husband in 2008 and operates in countries around the equator to create micro-economies of smallholder farmers embracing the cultivation of avocados, mangoes, guavas, breadfruit, and jackfruit.  Breadfruit is similar to a large potato but one tree can produce up to 300 pounds of flour annually to be used in baking. In addition to operations in such places as Jamaica, Uganda, and Puerto Rico, TTFF is working with some Rotary Clubs in climates  conducive to the growth of  trees.
   At our meeting, Mary passed out 2 publications, the Northfield Living article referred to above and a recent 15 page “annual report” of TTFF which explains further the operation and financial status of the organization.  These articles and further information regarding TTFF can  be obtained by contacting Mary directly at 312-933-0241, or the TTFF office at 1200 Hill Road in Winnetka, Ill. 60093. 
   After the questions and further discussion, Bob closed the meeting with the reciting of the Rotary 4-Way Test.