Posted by Carol Hutchinson on Dec 10, 2019
President Kevin’s Holiday Message
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose…Today we celebrate our annual Club Christmas/Holiday lunch.   This is a season about giving.  At this special lunch each year our charitable foundation donates $5,000 to a charity of choice.  This year the Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation has selected the Fort York Food Bank.  The Fort York Food Bank is a multi-service agency in our community with a vision to feed the hungry and to offer support programs to assist their clients to resolve the underlying issues affecting them.  A very deserving choice. A special thank you today to Dauna Jones - Simmons in once again chairing our luncheon today and her team, Jackie Davies, Pat Neuman, Dawn-Marie King, Deb Snider, Carole Chauncey and Melonie Dixon. 
As we enjoy the season, I wanted to take some time to reflect on an active and fun first half of this Rotary year.  
In the summer, Dauna Jones Simmons and Geoffrey Johnson arranged musical entertainment that had us up and dancing, and even participating in a limbo competition!  The program committee, chaired by Bert Steenburgh, continues to deliver top tier speakers and programs.  Our Remembrance Day program and the tribute to our late member Peter Naylor were among the highlights for me personally.  A special thank you to Past Presidents Neil Phillips and Geoffrey Johnson for delivering the news in “That was the Week that Was” and Don Bell in organizing our Let’s be Personal speakers.
Our golf tournament this past August was at a new venue.  Past President Bill Morari and his team once again added their name to the trophy and we raised funds for a great charity in Hope Air.  The weather was perfect and a good time was had by all.  Thank you to the golf committee and alternating co-chairs Karl Kramer and Mat Harrison.
In the fall we had a large contingent from our club attend the District Conference at the JW Marriott in Muskoka.  One of the themes discussed at the conference by incoming Rotary International Director Valerie Wafer (past District Governor of our District), was the need for Rotary Clubs to evolve and change.  Our club is changing and evolving.  Our Vice President Prince Kumar along with his team of Anny Sandra Hamel, Dawn Marie King, Lorna Johnson and Luzita Kennedy worked tirelessly to run a great club assembly.  The assembly was very well attended, allowing members to have their input into the direction our club takes moving forward.  A transition team has been setup to help our club transition to the new structure by July 1, 2020.
We recently held our 90th Annual Children’s Christmas party!  A morning snowfall did not slow our members down.  Lorna Johnson was up at 3 am for her first call to the media.  Susan Howson and her team were in early preparing the gift bags.  June and Alex Brown set up and led the storytelling room.   The Rotaract Club of Toronto volunteers assisted with face painting.  The Rotary Exchange Students donned the superhero and animal costumes and interacted with our guests.  Mayor John Tory attended and took time to mingle and interact with our guests and their families and spoke proudly about our Club.  The highlight once again was the snowball fight with the police, led by the CEO of Snowball Operations, Jayson Phelps.  President Elect John Fortney shared with us a heartwarming message from a family in attendance about how much the day meant to her son.  A day for us to be grateful and proud as members out great club.  Thank you to emcee Paul Truelove, chair Karl Kramer and his busy elves Pat Neuman, Dawn-Marie King and Deb Snider.  Thank you to all of our Rotarians who volunteered and attended.  It was such an amazing turnout of our members that I do not have enough room to thank everyone!  Please remember proceeds from your purchase of raffle tickets at our Friday, December 13th lunch will go towards our Children’s Christmas Party. 
Another morning snowfall did not slow our members down for our Seniors Christmas/Holiday Lunch.   Entertainment was provided by a choir of club members, Brigitte Bogar and Glenn Davis (and Victoria), and the grade 6 choir from John Wanless Public School.  A turkey dinner was served to over 200 guests and Santa and his elves made an appearance.  Thank you to our Seniors committee and chair James Braithwaite, Annelise Taylor, John Platts and Maureen Bird and all the members from our club that attended and volunteered, including our drivers, to make this a wonderful event. And thank you to the Rotarians that donated lunch tickets so the Seniors could enjoy this holiday event.
A thank you to Lori Brazier and Prince Kumar for all of your efforts in bringing the opportunities for hands on service to our club through Robin Hood Army.  There will be another Robin Hood Army event on December 21, to prepare and serve meals at Strachan House.  A great opportunity to give back over the holidays.
Looking forward to 2020 we have our Taking Care of Business Breakfast in support of Progress Place on March 5. Thank you to Don Bell and his team for bringing this opportunity to our club for us to assist a great cause and organization in Progress Place.  On March 26 we have our Annual Fundraiser at Steam Whistle. Thank you once again to Fabio Ventolini and his team.  Registration has started and I look forward to a record setting year in support of our Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation. 
A special thank you to the Carol and Belli in the Rotary office for all of their efforts on behalf of our Club! A special thank you as well to Maureen Bird and all of the Voice team!
December is the end of the year and a time to reflect on the year that was, a time to appreciate and be grateful for what we have, a time to be with family and friends, a time to share long standing traditions or to start new traditions and a time for kindness and giving.  It is also the time of celebrations – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Omisoka.  So, appreciate, saviour and enjoy all the goodness that comes with this season.  Happy Holidays to all.  For those that celebrate, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!