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A California club member feeds children in the Philippines

By Lisa Baker, Rotary International News, October 12, 2006

  The children of Bacolod City, Philippines, pay a price for the area’s unemployment and poverty problems. Many of the children don’t get enough to eat, causing them to be malnourished and underweight. These children then skip school so they can beg on the streets for food and money. One Rotarian saw this and decided to do what he could to change it.

  Rick Zander, who is on an extended leave of absence from the Rotary Club of Santa Ynez Valley, California, and his wife, Esther, moved to the Philippines in 2001 as long-term volunteers, originally to help with agricultural production. After their grant ran out in 2003, the Zanders stayed in the Philippines, relying on their own funds and donations from Rotarians, Rotary clubs, friends, and family. In 2004 they formed the Indigenous Development Coordinator’s Foundation, designed to help with funding for various projects. After visiting Bacolod City, they used some of that funding to form the Feeding Program at Banago Elementary School Number One.

  In August of 2005 the Zanders, in cooperation with the local parent teacher association, began a program that would feed the children as well as encourage them to attend school. The program originally was meant to feed the 763 children considered underweight, but the parent teacher association decided that the program would be more successful if they fed all 2,000 children at least one meal a week.

  “Each grade would be fed on a given day, and the malnourished children would be able to eat three to four times a week,” explains Zander. “The parents organized themselves into a group of five moms per day to prepare and serve the meals during recess.”  “The parents do all the cooking, so it makes them feel like it’s their program. The kids are enthusiastic about receiving food, too,” says Cindy Enderby, a Santa Ynez Valley club member who visited Zander in the Philippines.

  The diet consisted mainly of noodles with vegetables and either chicken, shrimp, or pork. They also supplied dehydrated food that was added to the meals each day.“They had a two-kilogram bag of food of various types each day. At the end of the school year, I gave each of the moms a two-kilogram bag to take home,” says Zander. Six months into the program, only 18 percent of the children remained underweight, compared to the 38 percent at the beginning of the school year.

  The Feeding Program did not continue when the 2006 school year began, due to a change in school administration. The Zanders are continuing to help the school, however. They’re working to get grants to remodel the school’s kitchen, install a bakery, and provide water in the kitchen. They hope to restart the Feeding Program as soon as the remodeling is completed.

Len Dalberg was honored at the California Association of Homes and Services for the Aging Annual Convention held May 2-4, 2005 in San Jose, as CAHSA's Statewide Volunteer of the Year. His wife, Anabelle Dalberg, and Vicki Morehouse and Suzanne Hollrah of the Solvang Lutheran Home were in attendance, as well as over 500 CAHSA members.Len Dalberg was honored at the California Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
Annual Convention held May 2-4, 2005 in San Jose, as CAHSA’s Statewide Volunteer of the Year.
His wife, Anabelle Dalberg, and Vicki Morehouse and Suzanne Hollrah of the Solvang
Lutheran Home were in attendance, as well as over 500 CAHSA members.

“A Small Tribute to Rick Zander Our Rotary Volunteer”

  As people go, we’re probably alright, most of us. We stay off the grass, we close covers before striking, we don’t talk to the driver while the bus is in motion and we post no bills. We’re pleased with ourselves.

  As Rotarians go, we’re probably okay as well, most of us. We live by the 4-way test, as best we can and we show up for lunch, more often than not. We serve on committes and participate in fundraisers. We’re proud of ourselves.

  And then we come across someone like Rick Zander. And it dawns on us that all people and all Rotarians may not be created equal. Some, to quote George Orwell, are more equal than others.

  Rick, to get a few vital statistics out of the way, was born in Washington DC in 1944 and grew up in the  Virginia and Maryland environs of the capital and was educated at SBCC, Cal Poly and UC Davis. Rick and Esther got married in Santa Barbara in 1968 and they have two daughters, Heather and Marianne.
He received his doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1977, whereupon he acquired the Ballard Animal Hospital in the Santa Ynez Valley, which he operated until just recently, when……
We’ll get to that later.

  Rick joined the Rotary Club of the Santa Ynez Valley in 1982 and, in short order, found his niche in International Service. The following year he already co-organized a local fundraising event in support of the Totonac Indian project in Mexico. In 1984 he was off and running as chairman of the Club International Service committee, and he hasn’t looked back since.

  In ’86 he and his wife Esther hosted a Rotary Exchange Student from the Philippines and in 1989 they started a ten year “habit” of hosting various GSE team members. From 1990 – ’91 he served as Club President, but found time to get involved with the formation of the Santa Barbara chapter of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians. A year later Rick became a Paul Harris Fellow.

  In ’94 he spearheaded a club project to purchase and ship a generator and pump to a group of small farmers in Jesus Maria, Costa Rica, to help them with irrigation during the dry season.

  The following year he worked to collect and ship medical relief supplies to a small clinic in Leon Cortez, Costa Rica, which had been destroyed by hurricane Mitch. Also in 1995, he spent three weeks (on a non-Rotary project) in Uzbekistan consulting with the Minister of Veterinary Services on privatization of Veterinary Services in that country and spoke as a guest lecturer at the School of Agriculture in Tashkent and Samarkand. Back home from that trip, he arranged for the shipment of a 20-foot container of medical supplies and equipment to Samarkand.

  In 1998 Rick traveled to the Philippines as GSE Team Leader in exchange with District 3790 and served as District 5240 GSE chairman for the ’98 – ’99 Rotary year. In addition to his GSE work, he initiated a 3H project with the Rotary Club Bacolod North for Irrigation and Small Farm Development and worked on a Matching Grant program between the Santa Ynez Valley Club and the RC Bacolod South, to provide prosthetics, braces and wheelchairs for indigents in that area of the Philippines. District 5240 recognized his extraordinary efforts by giving him his second Paul Harris Fellowship award. Back in the US, he somehow found time to attend the Rotary In Russia Conference in Tucson, Arizona and then worked with other members of theSanta Ynez club to host the Russian Leadership Conference members in 1999.

  That same year, he worked with the Rotary Clubs of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Sunrise to arrange a Matching Grant with the Rotary Club of Pune Central, India. This ongoing project provides corneal transplants for some 150 indigent recipients. The RC of Pune Central  honored him with a Paul Harris award for his efforts. Rick then served as District International Service chairman for 1999 – 2000.

  In 2000, Rick was back in the Philippines as a Short Time Rotary Volunteer assisting the Bacolod/Valladolid District 3850 . Back home again, he attended the WHARF (Worldwide Humanitarian Alliance of Rotarians & Friends) Conference in Santa Barbara and, with the help of Rotarian Rev. Charles Stacey’s St. Marks Church and PP Peter Robbins of the Solvang Breakfast Rotary Club, collected, refurbished and upgraded 42 computers to ship to the Philippines. In addition, he worked with the Solvang Lutheran Home and Direct Relief International to gather medical supplies and equipment for hospitals and clinics, and with the Santa Barbara County Schools, The Solvang Public Library and the Interact Club at the San Luis Obispo High School to gather library and school books to ship to the project area.

  Later that year, Rick and Esther decided to take a momentous step in order to devote themselves full time to his international relief work. They closed his veterinary practice, sold their home in the Santa Ynez Valley and on December 28 packed up and moved to the Philippines to begin a year-long term of Rotary volunteer work.

  After staying with Rotarian friends in Bacolod for a while, living out of their suitcases, the Zanders were able to find a home of their own to move into. Just three days after, upon coming home from project work in the afternoon, they found their place ransacked and virtually cleaned out by thieves. They lost much of what little they had, including clothes and Rick’s computer equipment.

  Most men would have thrown in the towel at this point. But Rick, uncomplaining and unselfish to a fault, simply carries on, seeing only the best even in this situation.(After all, he says, the bulk of their personal belongings was still in container transit from the US and thereby escaped the robbery! How lucky can you get?)

  He considers himself most fortunate to have the help and financial and moral support of the Santa Ynez Valley and Solvang Breakfast Rotary Clubs and of numerous individuals, such as Solvang PP Herb Bundgen, who was instrumental in facilitating the Zanders’ move and personally undertook to honor Esther Zander with a Paul Harris Fellowship. That award was presented to Rick’s hardworking wife at the District Conference in Roxas City, Philippines, in March of 2001.

  In April, the pair attended the Rotary in Asia Conference in Manila and was, as Rick puts it, through the kindness of PRID Sam Greene, able to meet Past RI President Frank Devlyn and other movers and shakers in the Rotary world.

  And the work goes on. Rick now realizes that a year will not be nearly enough time to accomplish the goals of the project and he is already exploring the possibility of extending his involvement for several more years. Talk about “Service above Self”.

  So, the next time someone asks you to take on a Rotary job, or volunteer for some club project, and you’re tempted to say that you’re too busy or haven’t got the time, take a moment and think about Rick Zander over there, somewhere, giving it twenty-four hours a day.

Fred R. Krug
PP, The Rotary Club of the Santa Ynez Valley

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