BELFAST — Belfast Rotary Club announced it has just completed its most successful “100 Fund” holiday gift campaign in 38 years by providing 186 Belfast area children with gift certificates for clothes and toys.

Marjorie Crowley, who chairs the 100 Fund, said in a press release, “This is the highest number of children Rotary has ever served at Christmas time. Rotary works all year on this grassroots project, and it’s one of the club’s signature activities. The 100 Fund provides gift certificates for winter clothing, boots and special Santa toys to children throughout Waldo County. Without the 100 Fund, many needy children would not have a Christmas.”

Lee Woodward Jr., one of the founding members of the project and its chairman for its first 20 years, said, “Thanks to Marjorie Crowley’s leadership for the past 10 years and Sharron Walsh’s for eight years before that, the 100 Fund has continued to flourish.

“In 2021 we have set records for both the number of donations received and the amount of those donations, which is amazing considering we are in the second year of a pandemic. The club is grateful to each and every donor and to the local businesses and agencies that work with us to make the 100 Fund a success.”

Since 1984, Belfast Rotary’s 100 Fund has given out more than $600,000 worth of toys and clothing to more than 5,200 girls and boys. “For 36 years,” Woodward said, “Club Santas and their elves delivered more than 50,000 gifts, each hand-wrapped at a Rotary-sponsored wrapping party attended by more than 50 Rotarians and friends. The gifts were then stored at a secret location somewhere in Belfast before delivery. We even developed an Elves Oath to assure the health and safety of each Santa and to make sure Santa got back to the North Pole safe and sound. And we figured out a safe way to keep the 100 Fund going and growing during these past two pandemic years.”

Beneath all the enjoyment of giving, especially at holiday time, Belfast Rotary Club is committed to service to the community, including to its youth. Over the past year, Rotary provided more than $100,000 worth of benefits to Belfast and Waldo County young people, including $80,000 in college and technical school scholarships and more than $23,000 in “100 Fund” gifts.

Belfast Rotary Club Santas and elves pose for a photo as they get ready to deliver 100 Fund holiday gifts in this 2018 photo. Courtesy of Belfast Rotary Club