OSKALOOSA — Oskaloosa Rotary Club could be found Thursday by following the scent of hot lunch.
At 3:40 p.m., cars were starting to line up in front of the MCG mall entrance. The Rotary Club set up shop in the Hy-Vee/MCG parking lot last Thursday afternoon, observing its traditional yearly fundraiser by serving out pork meals catered from the Hy-Vee Kitchen. They had three tents set up and tables covered in steaming steel chafers. Cars filed through the meal assembly line as if passing through a parking-pass booth, handing over their meal tickets and receiving their bagged hot lunches through the windows of their cars. The sides were mashed pototoes and broccoli. Some of the proceeds help the Rotary Club, while some of it is donated to scholarship charities for ambitious students, so a good cause was helped in the endeavor.
Some club members informed that most of their meal tickets were sold in advance through the community grapevine and that they'd sold more than 1,000 meals in that fashion. They also said at 3:45 p.m. that they were still selling some on-the-spot tickets. Among those helping in the meal line were City Councilman Steve Burnett and Mahaska County United Way Executive Director Amy Meyer. “Rotary does scholarships for seniors going into college,” Meyer said. “We fund a lot of different programs, so people will write us letters and ask us for money, so we fund a lot of things like that. An example of that was we just funded buying coats to help kids and folks out with the winter coat drive ... Just different needs throughout the year. One of Rotary Foundation's main things is solving polio, so there's a polio fund that we have for getting more immunizations and stuff.” Meyer said the club has had some nice progress of late and mentioned that they'd re-stained the Rotary gazebo recently out by Cornerstone Drive.
“Does anyone know how many years we've done this?” Meyer asked the group, to which one man answered, “I've been doing this for ... 27 years.”
“OK, so a long time, yeah,” Meyer said with a laugh. “John Sullivan and Craig Cohen are the two main coordinators of it, though. I don't have too much to do with it other than helping,” added Meyer. If the number of years running is any indication, the club members probably won't stop any time soon. The cars appeared to be multiplying at around 3:50 p.m., with three or four of them lined up, showing that the Oskaloosa Rotary Club was still going strong.