Rotary to host Day of Service at Freeport HS


The Freeport-Merrick Rotary Club is teaming up with other rotary clubs and organizations across Long Island, and is accepting community volunteers for its annual Rotary Day of Service on May 18 at Freeport High School.

The event, which will begin at 9 a.m., is designed to embody the Rotary’s mission of service above self, as well as giving back to the community.

The task is similar to last year’s, with volunteers packing duffel bags full of much-needed items and supplies to distribute to homeless veterans across Long Island.

The duffel bags will include items such as men’s underwear, crew socks, bath towels, washcloths and a variety of toiletries, such as shaving kits, toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, shower gel, body lotion, and more.

For this year’s Rotary Day of Service, more than 800 rotary clubs will participate from the U.S. and other countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and more, with about 30,000 members taking part in the event through various projects and initiatives.

DeRosette Harrison, the Freeport-Merrick Rotary Club secretary, is taking the lead in organizing this year’s Day of Service for Nassau County.

“I like event-planning,” Harrison said. “And I like to see it all come together, all the different parts.”

“The work… is meaningful, because it’s giving back,” Harrison added.

“You know, to whom much is given, much is required,” she continued. “And I am fortunate, and through Rotary, we have these opportunities where we can do these types of service projects and really help people in need. That’s what motivates me, and it was a success last year, and we’re hoping that (it will be) an even bigger success this year.”

Joining the Freeport-Merrick Rotary at the high school will be Rotary clubs based in Floral Park-Bellerose, South Queens, Southwest Queens, Hempstead-Uniondale, as well as the high school’s Interact Club, which partners with the Rotary to get students involved in community service projects.

Beverly James, the prospective Rotary district governor and the head of Rotary District 7255 — which stretches from the Verrazano Bridge to the Hamptons — will assist at the May 18 event at the high school. James’ home Rotary is Hempstead-Uniondale.

In addition, representatives from the Baldwin branch of Ridgewood Savings Bank will be present at the event, as well as volunteers from Groove Phi Groove, a social fellowship founded originally to serve as an alternative to mainstream historically black fraternities.

The Day of Service will take place in coordination with Rotary-funded General Needs, a non-profit based in East Northport that seeks to support veterans across Long Island, and is led by founder Lonnie Sherman.

In addition, Long Island Cares in Freeport will play a major role in this year’s event, as its Nassau Center for Collaborative Assistance will be open that day — which is outside of its regular hours — specifically to receive the donations from the Day of Service and thus begin the distribution process.

Each Tuesday, Long Island Cares is closed to the public and open only to veterans, to whom they disperse much-needed supplies that have been donated by Rotary Club members since April 2.

In addition, County Legislators Debra Mulè and Seth Koslow will help pack duffel bags and show support for the event.

“Our whole motto is service above self,” Jordan Pecora, Freeport-Merrick Rotary Club vice president, said. “If we can do service above self and have a multi-domestic and international (event with) everyone doing it on one day, it just shows the power of Rotary.”

This year, the Rotary expressed hopes of packing more than 300 duffel bags within a few hours, slightly more than last year’s final count of 285.

Anyone who wishes to be a Rotary Day of Service volunteer can sign up at