Over the past few weeks Mountaintop Rotary Club of Highlands has been raising money from the club and its members for Ukraine relief. Recently efforts have expanded to coordinate with the Highlands community with the intent of having a larger impact.
“We have been meeting with other Rotary clubs in the area as well as the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor,” said Rotarian Bill Kirkland. “To that end, the mayor signed a proclamation declaring April as Ukrainian Financial Relief month.”
“Whereas on February 23, 2022, Russian forces, under the direction of Vladimir Putin, launched an invasion of Ukraine the likes of which we have not seen since WWII, killing thousands and creating a crisis on a global scale, forcing millions of civilians to flee, and blatantly violating international law, I encourage all citizens of Highlands to join the Mountaintop and Noonday Rotary clubs of Highlands in providing financial relief to help millions of Ukrainian citizens displaced by this horrific war,” reads the proclamation in part.
Kirkland said as the Ukrainian crisis unfolded, members of the Mountaintop Rotary Club of Highlands decided it wanted, in some way, to provide support for the civilians in Ukraine.
A program was quickly developed whereby members could donate to a variety of causes accompanied by a dollar-for-dollar club match.
Online donations can be made to the Rotary Foundation Disaster Response Fund, a Hungary Rotary club on the Ukrainian border as well as organizations addressing specific needs — ShelterBox for housing, Doctors without Borders for medical, and World Central Kitchen for food. Currently the club has raised over $25,000 for Ukraine relief.
The war in Ukraine is having devastating consequences on civilians including the loss of homes, livelihoods, as well as families and friends.
“Gratefully people in Highlands and Cashiers are often very supportive of those in need. And we believe together we can have an even greater impact,” said Kirkland. “The mayor’s proclamation is a strong call to action to the Highlands community unifying our support for Ukraine and its people.”
Mayor Taylor called for the citizens of Highlands to stand together with the people in the towns and in the rural areas of Ukraine as they are being savagely attacked by Putin.
“As a mayor I can’t image the devastation of a community of people being indiscriminately bombed by foreign military forces,” he said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the brave Ukrainian people. Highlanders will respond with financial support also.”
To donate, go to the respective sites online. Send the receipt of the donation and Mountaintop Rotary will match it dollar-for-dollar.
Donations can also be mailed to the club at PO Box 372, Highlands, NC 28741. Make checks out to Highlands MountainTop Rotary and put Ukraine in the memo line.
Pictured at the top of the article is the proclamation signing; from left are Kirk Dornbush, Past President, Mountaintop Rotary Club of Highlands, Mayor Pat Taylor, Michael Vavrek, President, Mountaintop Rotary Club of Highlands, Andy Walker, Secretary Elect, Mountaintop Rotary Club of Highlands.
By Kim Lewicki, Highlands Newspaper