BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Troutman Ruritan Club, which formed in June, had its first community project on Friday, providing a free spaghetti dinner and school supply drive in the Troutman Fire Department’s new community room and kitchen.
The school supplies and monetary donations to purchase supplies will benefit students in need at Troutman Elementary and Troutman Middle schools.
President Amber Reep thanked the Troutman Fire and Rescue staff for letting them use the community space and for being so welcoming.
Debbie Davis, lieutenant governor of the Piedmont Ruritan 31 District, which includes 14 counties running from Wilkes and Alexander counties to Caswell County, also came to support the event.
Vice President Sheena Shaw said Billy Hobbs, chairman of Growth and Development in the Piedmont District and a member of the Cool Spring chapter, reached out to her and others about starting a Ruritan Club in the rapidly growing Troutman area.
Hobbs is seeking to get younger people, families, retirees, businesses, and others in the area to join the organization to promote community goodwill, fellowship, and service to others.
The group meets the second Thursday of every month. Shaw said whole families can join to meet their neighbors and serve others in the community.
“Ruritan gives back to the local community only, and we all get to vote on the fundraisers or events we want to throw and who we want to benefit. Everybody has a say, and we can make the club what we want to make,” said Shaw.
Reep, a Troutan native who attended both Troutman schools that benefited from the event, wants more local residents to join the Ruritan group because “this place has my heart.”
Shaw noted that “this is just the first of many events we want to put on. We want more people to join and come up with creative ideas and make this fun. We want young adults and kids to get involved.”
Anyone can join the local group, even if they do not live in Troutman town limits.
The club currently has about 40 members, with Debbie Altomare (treasurer) and April Hudson (secretary) also serving in the chapter’s leadership roles.
“We want to bring community service back in a fresh way and try to get the younger generation involved because we need to continue to pass that torch down,” said Shaw, who added that kids are welcome at the meetings.
Annual dues are $15 for children and $68 for adults.
The group will reflect on this event’s success and plan its next project at its regular Thursday meeting on October 13 at The Troutman Cedar Stump Pub’s outdoor area at 6:30 p.m., if the weather holds, or at Randy’s BBQ if it rains (updates at https://www.facebook.com/troutmanruritan).
All are invited to attend and learn more about the organization.
Ruritan National has nearly 25,000 members throughout the United States that serve more than 900 local communities. Since the organization’s inception in 1928 in Holland, Va., Ruritan Clubs have spread fellowship, goodwill, and community service throughout America in urban areas, small towns and rural communities.
Ruritan’s purpose is to create increase understanding and serve neighbors through volunteer community service to make communities a better place to live and work. Club membership is open to everyone of all ages.
Each club surveys its own community’s needs and then works to meet some of those needs. Many clubs partner locally with FFA, 4-H, Boy or Girl Scouts, and other organizations serving youth.