Santa Clara Rotary Helps JW House Put Dinner on the Table
By Carolyn Schuk

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Santa Clara Rotary Helps JW House Put Dinner on the Table

A shared meal around a family table is about much more than food. It's about comfort, companionship, and a respite from stress and worry. It's about feeling "at home" when you're far away from home.

That's why JW House's "Dinner is Served" program means so much to the families staying at the "home away from home" while family members are being treated in local hospitals. Community volunteer groups and generous restaurants provide the meals, every day of the year.

“After a long day at the hospital, our guests look forward to coming “home” to find that someone has planned and prepared a delicious meal just for them," says a JW House Executive Director Larrissa Robideaux.

"Groups who participate in the ’Dinner is Served’ program soon discover that their efforts go far beyond simply providing a dinner,” she says. “As families gather for dinner, a warm sense of community exists and many volunteer groups choose to return month after month. 'Dinner is Served’ is one of the most popular volunteer opportunities at JW House."

Santa Clara Rotary is one of those volunteer groups making sure that "Dinner is Served." “Our club has been volunteering since 2014,“ says Rotary Club JW House chair Joe Sweeney. “Members volunteer their time and rotate each month to prepare a hot meal and bring comfort to those families and children during difficult times.”

“We are grateful for the Rotary Club of Santa Clara’s generosity," says Robideaux, "and for being part of the community helping us serve more than 7,000 dinners a year.”

One of those Rotarians rolling up his sleeves in the JW House kitchen is Club president Andy Ratermann.

Ratermann has served on the Santa Clara Historical and Landmarks commission, and was elected three times to the Santa Clara Unified School Board – where he has served as Board Vice President and President. He's been on the boards of the Santa Clara Sister Cities Association, the Buchser Music Association and served for over a decade on the local Boy Scout Council Executive Board.

From making sure that every elementary school student starts the school year with properly-fitting new shoes through the "Steps for Success," to teaching young people how to take and idea and build a business around it through its Enterprise Leadership Conference, Santa Clara Rotary is an active presence in the City – and beyond through natural disaster relief programs and Rotary International's polio eradication program.

Santa Clara Rotary meets every Thursday at 12:15 p.m. at the Bay Club on Central Expressway in Santa Clara, and welcomes guests. Mercury News sports reporter Mark Purdy will be the lunch speaker on Aug. 13. For information visit www.santaclararotary.org or call (650) 421-4760.