Posted by Keith Reed
   Co-Chairs Patti and Barb presided at the meeting. Guests were the speaker Rick Rosenfeld, John Zeddies and Angel Gonzalez.  There were 15 members present and 3 on Zoom.
   BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES: Greg Nelson had a birthday on Nov. 26. Anniversaries celebrated were Jeanne Beckman – 34 years; Lee Padgitt--29 years;  Rich Lalley--18 years; David Birkenstein—13 years.
   ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Notices for payment of our last quarter dues will be sent out soon. Amy announced that effective next week the WCH will have a “QR” code that can be scanned by smart phones to contribute money to the Club for Happy Bucks, Dig N Grin, etc.
   Rich reported on several distributions of about 1800 coats at libraries and schools in the City and also Highwood schools.  Barb reminded us that next Thursday will be when we pack Thanksgiving meals for Good News Partners—and another piece of “good news” is that we can deliver such meals directly to the GNP location this year rather than moving them twice as we have in the past. We are hoping to be able to buy  about $2000 worth of groceries.
   Barb reported that she, Patti, Rich and several other Club members recently attended a Rotary recognition dinner and that most Clubs are continuing to contribute money towards the elimination of polio until it is completely eradicated.  This project started in 1924 and millions of dollars have been donated by Rotary Clubs over the years.
   It was announced that the New Trier swing choir will be entertaining us at the Dec. 8th meeting and that another treat that day will be our noon luncheon being served by our former caterer, Donna Goodman—she is hoping to serve at least 50 meals that day, so this is a great time to bring guests to the meeting.
DIG N GRIN: Wes handled this by telling the male Rotary members present the difference in living with your wife as compared to living with your dog!!  First, the dog’s parents never drop by your house unexpectedly; the dog never questions you if you come home smelling like another dog; and the dog is always excited to see you when you come home no matter how late you are!
   SPEAKER RICK ROSENFELD:  Marie introduced Rick who is her very good friend and also a Rotarian in the Glenview Sunrise Club.  Rick was the main organizer of several volunteers around the North Shore to help find housing, food, clothing etc. for mainly refugees coming over to the area after the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan in 2021.  There were over 100,000 refugees who found their way to the U.S. and several thousand of those ended up in such North Shore communities as Skokie, Deerfield, Northbrook, etc.  Rick used the Next Door Neighbor facebook site, his friends and neighbors to start collecting items that these people needed to survive.  His first storage unit filled up quickly but he was able to find storage space at the Holy Cross Church in Deerfield.  He soon had dozens of volunteers who were able to help Rick collect furniture and winter coats for up to 160 refugee families-- and even Niles Township and the Northbrook Rotary Club contributed to Rick’s efforts. A closed church in Northbrook donated 100 pieces of furniture from its rectory.  Rick’s volunteers were able to get refugees into furnished apartments within 48 hours.  They continued to expand a church library into a “free store” where refugees have access to 7 rooms containing housewares, clothing, furniture, bedding, etc.  That store services over 160 refugee families, including some from Ukraine.  Five faith communities assign volunteer teams to run the store.
   The next phase of Rick’s efforts was to get language classes lined up for  the refugees so they could assimilate and operate within the Chicago environment—this included learning how to use public transportation, where to shop, etc.  Soon the refugees were able to get hired into service and store clerk type jobs and some are even training to be over the road truck drivers. Afghan refugees can get work permits much quicker than most refugees who have to wait 18 months.
    Marie ended Rick’s presentation by saying “he’s the one who did all these wonderful things for the refugees”.  The members thanked both Rick and Marie for all their efforts to help others in time of need.  Patti then led the group in the Rotary 4 Way test and the meeting was adjourned.
    (Note: Barb talked with Rick after the meeting about her volunteer activities and he sent her an email listing  “high level” needs that his group could use help on between now and the end of the year—for example—more winter coats, drivers to deliver coats and to drive refugees to doctor appointments, etc.; and volunteers to work in the “free store” taking donations, stocking shelves, and helping the shoppers. Contact Barb or me for a copy of Rick’s email.)