“Think global – act local” is a theme used by the Greens.  It’s a theme which also fits Rotary’s commitment to humanitarian service.
Local Rotary Clubs, 33,000 of them around the world, drive Rotary and its humanitarian programs at home and abroad.
Our Club has a proud record in both areas.  We all get personally involved in local community service.
Servants Community Housing, which provides safe and affordable housing for homeless people, is a good example of RC  North Balwyn program close to home.  Successful programs often develop because they have a champion in the Club and Servants is a case in point.
It all began in 2012 when the then CEO of Servants, Matt Maudlin was guest speaker at a Club meeting.  Our President elect at the time was the late Terry Gretton, who was greatly impressed with Matt’s presentation and the work of Servants.
The eye opener is that Servants provides accommodation for more than 100 people in our own community, who otherwise would likely sleep rough in the neighbourhood.
Matt Maudlin’s call wasn’t for money. He understood we didn’t have the where-with-all to make a significant financial difference.
 His call was for support and Terry Gretton set about providing it.
Servants wanted to extend awareness of its activity and initially small groups from the Club were invited to dinner at one of Servant’s residences to hear about their work and the stories of some of the residents.
From those essentially small social contacts a continuing connection developed.
Our contribution has included, among other things –
  • hands on work in building garden facilities and other repairs,
  • support through our  school’s gardening program
  • the regular provision of surplus food left over from our catering programs,
  • setting up and manning the bbq at the annual Christmas carols at Carrical House (one of Servants four residences),
  • providing furniture (often second hand and in one case I am aware of a superb table re-furbished through work at the North Balwyn Men’s shed)
  • setting up and manning the bbq at the annual Christmas carols at Carrical House (one of Servants four residences),
  • a model doll’s house size rooming house to assist Servant’s presentation at expos and exhibitions (again through support from the Men’s Shed)
  • provision of a large among of bathroom linen from DIK
  • In another link, our Club Member, John Koa, through his business Baker’s Delight, donates bread to Servants each week.
The list goes on.
So it all began with Terry Gretton. He was the champion for Servants. Sadly Terry died half way through his year as President (less than 24 hours after attending Carols in Park in the Christmas of 2012).
In seeking to recognise Terry’s advocacy for Servants and its provision of safe and affordable housing for the homeless, the Club agreed to fund a small transporter bus for Servants.
In the process we provided practical support for a deserving community program and recognised a deserving member of the Club. The transporter is known as “Gretto’s Bus”.
Today our commitment continues, working largely with the current CEO at Servants, Amanda Donahoe.
The program is a good example of Rotary’s ongoing Community Service. It reflects the proposition “think global – act local”.