Plano West Rotary
A healthier and better educated population leads to growth in local economies. And this can begin with something as simple as a free, healthy lunch.
This summer Plano West Rotary Club (PWRC) was a proud to be a partner in the school district’s Summer Curbside Meals program. The program provides boxes of healthy food items, as well as nutritional information and recipes, to Plano ISD students and their siblings throughout the summer, free of charge. Plano ISD Food and Nutritional Services (FANS) works within the state of Texas Agricultural Department to provide these meals under the direction and funding of the USDA. 
Many students who normally rely on their campus to feed them breakfast and lunch may find themselves hungry when school is out for the summer. By providing for the nutritional needs of these students from June through August, Plano West Rotary Club and Plano ISD are helping to ensure these kids better health. Additionally, receiving these meals free of charge enables families to reallocate those dollars saved towards other living expenses.
The summer project’s leads were club members James Thomas and Katherine Goodwin. James is a Plano ISD employee who has continually worked as a conduit between our club and the ISD for the past year, and he assisted this project with scheduling, campus coordination and Plano ISD-specific issues. Katherine has a strong background in PTA and took on managing the large number of volunteers needed to carry out this project.
Every Tuesday of this summer, from June 1 to Aug. 3, our club members and non-Rotarian volunteers helped staff morning and afternoon meal distributions at three campuses across our city – Bowman Middle School, Clark High School and Shepton High School. That is 60 unique volunteering opportunities that the club had to recruit volunteers for and help oversee!
Plano ISD provides FANS staff to distribute the meals, but during the school year, there were teachers and other school staff to assist them with the drive-through distributions. However, during the summer there were no other school personnel available to assist.
Our volunteers at Summer Curbside Meals could be trusted to stand out in the hot sun and service the cars in the drive-through while FANS staff packaged meals in the kitchens where food handling certification is required. Volunteers helped package breakfast and lunch foods, including milk, produce, frozen foods and pantry staples into bundles, and place the appropriate number of bundles per child into vehicles. Bundles had enough food for seven breakfasts and lunches for each child.
PWRC volunteers enabled FANS staff to more efficiently complete the distributions, so they could end their shifts more quickly. Most of these folks didn’t take any time off during the summer and have been working abnormally hard since virtual learning started in March 2020.
The Curbside Summer Meals program received a number of eager volunteers through the summer, but in addition to the project leads, fellow Rotarians Jo’Anna Snowden, Erika Gebhardt, Rosolayn Johnson, Tara Bidwell and Kaitlin Jones were exceptionally helpful to this program. These club members helped greet new community volunteers and get them up to speed until Katherine or James arrived onsite for each shift at each campus.
By summer’s end, the program had served a total of 95,312 meals to Plano ISD students and siblings, with 234 volunteer hours worked. Way to help make a difference, Plano West Rotary Club!
The work our club did to aid Summer Curbside Meals falls under the Rotary Areas of Focus by growing local economies and supporting education.
The summer partnership was just one way that PWRC has partnered with Plano ISD so far, in addition to food distributions last spring. The school district has been so impressed and positively impacted by our volunteers that PWRC has been asked to help support food pantry distributions at Armstrong Middle School, Bowman Middle School and Rowlinson Natatorium each month for the next year.
You can sign up here to volunteer at an upcoming drive-through distribution three times a month for the school year.
Plano West Rotary


As rallies for racial justice happened throughout the U.S. last summer, members of our club felt compelled to find a COVID-safe way to help create equity for the Black community as well as get more Black citizens involved in Rotary’s efforts.
President, Alex Johnson, brought his concerns to Dollie Thomas and David Evans, community members with deep roots in the Douglass Community, Plano’s historically Black neighborhood founded in the 1800s. Working together, the Rotary Community Corps of Plano Douglass Community was formed June 26, 2020 to complete service projects in support of this underserved community.
Boots on the Ground
Almost immediately after its creation, the RCC proved successful in engaging non-Rotarians in community service. A diverse group has volunteered alongside Plano West Rotary Club in at least 21 service projects so far.
A total of 929 volunteer hours have been served, and $174,937 worth of in-kind goods have been distributed to neighbors in the Douglass Community.
Members of the RCC and PWRC unloading donated boxes of food
The majority of in-kind goods received were food boxes donated by Plano-area food pantries and food banks. Over seven months, PWRC and the RCC went out 11 times to deliver an approximate total of 1,500 food boxes door-to-door to needy neighbors in the community. On every delivery date, between 125 and 200 homes received boxes filled with fresh food and nonperishable items.
Meals were delivered to individual homes because not all community residents had vehicles or could drive. “Some residents won’t go to a food pantry out of pride. Some are concerned with being called poor, underprivileged or impoverished. Our goal is to serve and empower,” explained PWRC President Alex Johnson.
The RCC and PWRC have also partnered to collect and donate shoes for international micro-entrepreneurs and received funds to repair the roof on the home of an elderly Douglass Community resident. Volunteers also came together to help provide students in the community with critical resources, supplies and meals for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.
Helping organize shoes for the Shoe Drive
All of these efforts align with Rotary’s Areas of Focus on growing local economies and supporting education.
PWRC and the RCC are working to plan future projects that continue serving the residents of the Douglass Community, including a community garden, tutoring and life skills education.

Service Leads to a Growing, More Diverse Club

The aid that PWRC and the RCC provided to the Douglass Community caught the attention of many non-Rotarians. Through highly visible acts of “Service Above Self,” our club grew its membership significantly, attracting members of the RCC that wanted to be more involved on a permanent basis.
In May 2020 before the formation of the RCC, Plano West Rotary Club had 21 members. In the 14 months since the RCC was formed, the club has tripled to 65 members. PWRC is actually the fastest growing of the 7,485 clubs in the U.S., according to Rotary International.
The growth has also increased the diversity in the club’s membership. Fifty four percent of the club members are women, 34 percent are under 40 years of age, and 51 percent are people of color. The club includes immigrants from eight different countries, as well as members of a wide range of ages, including several college students.
The RCC attracted a more diverse group of volunteers
Alex is certain the RCC impacted the community in a way that PWRC could never have done on its own. “The need came from the community, and we focus on partnering first. We prefer to never do it alone.”
Serve with us! Non-Rotarians are always invited to join our club for service projects in the Plano community. Sign up here.
Plano West Rotary

On July 31, a team of seven volunteers from Plano West Rotary Club, led by project leader Glen Thornton, collected trash along K Avenue from Spring Creek Parkway to Parker Road in Plano. On this particular Saturday, seven 40-gallon bags were completely filled with roadside litter, but Plano West Rotary Club’s efforts in protecting our city are much larger than this, as our club has been picking up trash on Avenue K every other month for the past four years.











Past-PWRC President Glen Thornton has been the Avenue K Clean-up project leader for all four years of the club’s efforts. “I was [originally] the person that started the alliance with the City of Plano's Adopt-a-Highway program and signed us up. I was looking for another service project our club could do and thought this would be a good option. I enjoy it,” said Glen.
Assisting Glen for a combined total of 10.5 hours on Saturday were club members Laura Johnson, Shannon Modlin, Michelle Thornton, Erika Gebhardt and Fred Bemenderfer. High school student Lola also volunteered her time, and has volunteered with our club before.
Spending just a few hours cleaning up a roadside in Plano helps our city maintain its pleasant appearance, and improves the health and quality of life for residents and travelers in that area. The year-round Avenue K Clean-up project falls in line with Rotary’s Areas of Focus: Protecting the Environment.
The next Avenue K Clean-up is Saturday, Sept. 25 beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Good Tree Academy on Avenue K. Invite a non-Rotarian friend to join you, and spend just two hours making a visible difference in Plano! Sign up for Sept. 25th here.
Plano West Rotary
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Rotary COVID Education Rotary COVID Education

From my town of Plano, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, we see the virus devastating lives in India. Last year, COVID-19 affected people overseas, and then took hold in America. We can counter the threat and stay safe by getting people vaccinated.

Most people have access to information on COVID-19 vaccines. But we discovered many minority residents do not. Motivated by a wish to help our fellow citizens, we partnered with our city government to inform this group.

As of late April, 61% of Plano residents 16 years and older had received a COVID-19 vaccine. Of that population, 42% are fully vaccinated, with the rest waiting to receive their second dose.

We hand-out door hangers in apartments and neighborhoods. We’re helping people with language issues. Those with limited internet. Others who don’t have time. Our flyers have Spanish and English vaccine information. We want people to make informed decisions.

9% increase in vaccinations among the Hispanic population of Plano following the project

Our volunteers go out Saturdays with thousands of door hangers. We’ve had up to 25 people help on a weekend. The city of Plano has measured a 7% increase in vaccinations among the Hispanic population since our project.

Our club is a member of the COVID-19 Community Corps run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Other clubs can join to receive constant up-to-date information and build vaccine confidence in your community.

Our project is being led by Mehr Hakim, Bruce Mang and Antonio Harris, college students. In addition to college students, 32% of our members are under 40 years of age. We’ve broke the gender barrier with our 63 members with 52% being female.  52% of the Rotary Club of Plano West is nonwhite. According to Rotary International, we’re the fastest growing of the 7,485 clubs in the U.S. We’ve completed over 6 service projects a month with a total impact over 2,066 services hours and more than $313,000 in donated goods this Rotary year. Our membership growth comes from our service. With an array of voices from different backgrounds and age groups, our passion empowers us to serve relentlessly.

Plano West Rotary

by Hunter Lacey of Plano Magazine

Feed the underserved

Plano West Rotary Club (PWRC) is working with assistance from the City of Plano to keep citizens informed about the COVID-19 vaccination process. Though many have access to information about the vaccine, the underserved population of Plano is not as well-resourced as other residents. Because of that, PWRC and the City have developed a strategy to share information with as many Planoites as possible.

PWRC will be distributing doorhangers across apartment complexes and neighborhoods that may have difficulty receiving timely information due to a language barrier or lack of access to the internet or other communications. The flyers will contain helpful information about COVID-19 and the vaccine in both Spanish and English. The hope is that all people across the city can have the resources needed to make an informed decision about getting vaccinated.

“If we pay attention to what’s going on in India, we see that variants came and absolutely annihilated the country. A year ago, that’s what happened overseas. Then it came here. The only way we can stop that is if we get our population vaccinated,” PWRC president Alex Johnson shared.

As of late April, approximately 61 percent of Plano residents 16 years and older had received a COVID-19 vaccine. Of that population, 42 percent are fully vaccinated, with the remainder waiting to receive their second dose.

PWRC volunteers have been going out every Saturday to distribute thousands of doorhangers. The need for this information is urgent, so PWRC hopes to accomplish this goal as soon as possible. Because of that, they’re actively seeking out volunteers. Non-Rotary members can help.

This Rotary club is a part of the national COVID-19 Community Corps run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Anyone can join and receive constant up-to-date information about COVID-19. Learn more here.

The project leaders, Bruce Mang and Antonio Harris, for this education effort are college freshmen. Different than most Rotary clubs, there are many college students in PWRC. Forty eight percent of the club are women, 34 percent are under 40 years of age, and 52 percent of the club are people of color. The club also includes immigrants from eight different countries. PWRC is the fastest growing club of the 7,485 clubs in the U.S., according to Rotary International. With an array of voices that come from different backgrounds and age groups, the club is empowered by its passion to help all people.

“We’re just trying to save our citizens,” Alex said.

If you’d like to volunteer to distribute the informational doorhangers, signup here: