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rotary disasterIthaca Rotary Club President June Losurdo and member Maricelis Acevedo hold a $9,183 check going to the San Juan Rotary Club for disaster relief

The Rotary Club of Ithaca announced that with the help of more than 25 local restaurants, the club has raised $10,000 for disaster recovery in Puerto Rico. The club organized a $50 raffle this spring with the grand prize being twelve $100 gift cards to area restaurants; other smaller prizes were available too. Only 200 tickets were sold. Prizes were awarded at a gala dinner at the Ithaca Country Club on Valentine's Day.

The Dozen Dinner Draw (DDD), initiated by the Ithaca Rotary Club's International Service Committee, is modeled after a similar raffle put on by a Rotary club in the Toronto area. Dennis Gray, a former member of that club and now an Ithaca Rotarian, led the effort with his wife Maricelis Acevedo and other members of the International Service Committee.

"The purpose of the Dozen Dinner Draw is to raise funds for international service projects so that we can have a more significant impact on what our club does on the global stage with Rotary," said Gray. "Applying the money raised from our first DDD towards disaster relief in Puerto Rico and for shelter box is consistent with Rotary's focus on service above self. We look forward to building on the DDD momentum to continue helping those less fortunate in the international community."

In June, $9,183 was donated to the San Juan Rotary Club, and will be utilized for a variety of housing reconstruction and water and sanitation disaster recovery projects in Puerto Rico, which suffered catastrophic infrastructure damage from Hurricane Maria last September. The San Juan Rotary Club will allocate the funds to the non-profit organization Pisadas de Amor (Footprints of Love), which focuses on improving the quality of living conditions for the elderly in Puerto Rico. Pisadas de Amor is a FEMA-funded effort focused exclusively on house repairs for those who cannot be helped by FEMA.

The Ithaca Rotary Club donated another $1,000 to purchase a shelter box to aid a displaced family. Shelter Box provides emergency shelter and tools for families robbed of their homes by disaster.

"As a Puerto Rican and a Rotarian, I am so grateful for and moved by the amazing support from the Ithaca community toward Hurricane Maria relief in Puerto Rico," said Maricelis. "There is still so much need on the island, so many seniors and families who need help to be able to live in a safe home. We are already in hurricane season again and there are still lots of home with blue tarp roofs from last September's storm."

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