Posted by Bruce Wood on Mar 01, 2023

Local charities and Humble ISD representatives display oversized “checks” they received from the Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area during the club’s annual Grants and Sponsors Appreciation Luncheon held at the Lake Houston Family YMCA in March. Also pictured are business sponsors who support the Rotary program. Rotary distributed over $85,000 to eighteen charities including a check from Rotary District 5890. Club President Eric Gomez is on the far right in a blue Rotary shirt. Pam McNair, grants committee chair, is in the back row center also wearing a blue Rotary shirt.  -  Photo by Rotarian Pat Guard, courtesy of The Forest Image magazine.
Eighteen local charities received over $85,000 in grants from the Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area during the club’s annual Grants and Sponsors Appreciation Luncheon held at the Lake Houston Family YMCA in March.

Representatives from local businesses sponsoring the Rotary Club’s fundraising events were also in attendance and received plaques thanking them for their support.

The luncheon, with approximately 100 people in attendance, was kicked off by Rotary Club President Eric Gomez who welcomed the audience and a visiting group of Rotarians from Guadalajara, Mexico including that club’s president Carlos Muno.

Mr. Gomez proceeded to share the purpose, goals and accomplishments of Rotary International and of Lake Houston Rotary. The motto of Rotary is “Service Above Self”. He explained that motto is what guides Rotarians. “We give back to the community by volunteering our time, talent and resources to help those in need of an opportunity to improve their lives,” he said.

He went on to give a brief history of the club, founded in 1967, and outlined the $1.8 million provided for humanitarian needs over the past 19 years. The money has gone to local social service organizations, student scholarships, FAA, the Junior Rotarian Program and Rotary Youth Exchanges.

Mr. Gomez also introduced the three foreign exchange students currently attending Humble ISD high schools and hosted by the club from Italy, South Korea and Brazil as Barbara Sanna, Jeahyeok Lim and Andre Ferreira.  

Rotary event sponsors were thanked by Mr. Gomez for helping the club to raise money through its annual Cinco de Mayo Golf Tournament and the Rotary Corvette raffle. He announced this year’s golf tournament will be held at Tour 18 Golf Course in Humble on Thursday, May 4th and sponsorships are still available.

He added raffle tickets to win a new, 2023 Corvette Stingray C8 Coupe are currently being sold for $100 each by club members and on the club’s website at . The raffle is sponsored by Robbins Chevrolet in Humble with the public drawing to be held on Saturday, May 13 at the dealership.

100% of net fundraising revenues are allocated to the Lake Houston Rotary Foundation and are not used for club operations. Rotary Club members are volunteers and pay monthly dues to fund club operations.

The following Rotary event business sponsors were presented with thank you plaques by Mr. Gomez who said the charity grants would not be possible without their help. They were: Edward Jones, Mint National Bank, Lake Houston Family YMCA, Robbins Chevrolet, Mann Eye Institute, Community Bank of Texas, Price Financial and Plains State Bank. Other sponsors honored were San Jacinto College, Chick-fil-A and Kevin Burke DDS and all were listed on the colorful table place mats.

Pam McNair, grant committee chair, was introduced by Mr. Gomez and she proceeded to reveal she had a special grant check for Millie Garrison, executive director of Humble Area Associated Ministries (H.A.A.M.), from Rotary District 5890 for $6,000 to rebuild fencing and protect the charity’s air conditioning units from copper theft.

Ms. McNair then introduced representatives from each charity in attendance and presented them, with assistance from Mr. Gomez, with an oversized check and a brief explanation of how the grant money was going to be used.

Grant recipients were:

Family Promise of Lake Houston - Jessica Penney. A shelter program which partners local church congregations with families who are homeless.  Family Promise has an outreach program/training to teach the families how to overcome homelessness. The grant will help cover costs of having two vehicles available to members of the program. It will help with gasoline cards, maintenance, insurance and licensing so the vehicles can be used to drive to job interviews, doctor appointments or jobs.

Mission Northeast – Pam Dickson. A food pantry and social services similar to H.A.A.M. covering Porter and areas north.  This grant will go towards buying new computer systems, software, new wiring for faster technology to help bring Mission NE into the 21st century.

WINGS Ministries – Irma Barbee. Helping women post-incarceration settle back into society.  It provides counseling, job aid, and support to help members become self-sufficient. Grant covers cost of t-shirts given at graduation from the program to remind the ladies how far they have come and to not fall back into bad habits.

Boots for Troops - Lindsey Rogers. Custom care packages for deployed troops. Packages include boots, personal supplies, candy and food items.

Inspire ND - Jennifer Dantzler, Erica Johnston. Assists children and young people who have neurodiverse issues transitioning into adulthood. This grant covers a portion of their Community Connections program. It teaches skills to their clients allowing them to integrate into the community in a meaningful way. This grant helps cover the costs of transportation, uniforms or any other needed supplies to help them succeed.

Hopeful Hearts Ministry - Shannon Carr and Tamara Lexow. Aids in long-term recovery of survivors of abuse and trauma. This grant will cover the cost of the supplies needed for a weekend retreat to include food, journals, notebooks and supplies. The retreat location was donated by another organization. 

Humble ISD Education Foundation - Deborah Rose-Miller and Christy Tarkington. Mini-Libraries to be designed and built by KMS Engineering & Technology students. The libraries will be stocked and placed in apartment complexes surrounding Humble Elementary School area. The grant covers the full cost of materials and books.
Oaks of Righteousness - Beth Whittier. Helps women post-incarceration assimilate back into society through their program and living in the resident houses. This grant will help cover the cost of new safety doors for the Oaks and Pierce House.  The existing doors are old and warped and do not protect the residents anymore.
Dora’s Dawgs and Katz - Denise Rasch. Dog and Cat rescue located in Kingwood. This grant covers the purchase of an industrial washer and dryer and other supplies needed to cover the recent surge of animals being abandoned or turned in.
Society of St. Stephen - Karen Mashburn. A faith-based ministry through the Kingwood United Methodist Church. It has a food pantry, clothing and household goods store and offers assistance to families in need in Kingwood, New Caney, Porter and surrounding areas. The grant will be used towards their Back-to-School Supply Program which gives, free of charge, backpacks, school supplies, and other basic needs to children going back to school in the fall.
The Village Centers - Jessica Morales and Eileen Simonetty. Grant is to provide integrated access doors for all facilities, access readers, access cards and dual entry doorways.
Sleep in Heavenly Peace (S.H.P.) - Gary Akin, Mark Proegler and Jim Hannan. Rotary will sponsor a "Build Day" to construct beds for children who are sleeping on the floor. Includes bedding, the beds and delivery/set-up.  This will be a volunteer project for the club in September.
Lake Houston Family YMCA - Talybra Hollins. Grant goes toward the Y’s Safety Around Water (S.A.W.) Program, adaptive sports league and 1,000 backpacks towards the Humble ISD Back to School Fair.
re:MIND - Mica Huffman. Support group for depression and bi-polar disorder.  The grant will help cover the cost of opening new counseling groups here in the West Lake Houston area; both online and in-person. 
Humble Area Assistance Ministries (H.A.A.M.) Millie Garrison and Jen Karlstrom. The grant will go towards the rehab of the building and parking lot.

Community Response Task Force (CRTF) - Phillipe Cras, Earle Findley and Lynn Cheney. Acts as a liaison between first responders and the community during emergency events. Grant goes towards the purchase CB radios to use during community emergencies and supplies to help educate the public about what they provide. 

Two other recipients receiving grants not presented at the luncheon are:

The Rotary Rose Group – A group therapy program with a licensed psychologist for women suffering from postpartum depression and other mental health struggles. It meets twice per month.

Future Farmers of America (FAA) Humble ISD Livestock Auction – Rotary purchases Humble ISD’s FAA students’ animals at auction and donates the meat to local food banks and other charities.

Rotary Club President Gomez thanked the sponsors again and thanked everyone for attending. He invited non-members to see Jim Polomsky if they wished to join the club; potential golf sponsors to see Dr. Michael Nasra; anyone wanting to buy raffle tickets to see Juan Aybar and potential tournament golfers to see Danny Contreras.

He then closed out the meeting with everyone reciting Rotary's 4-way Test of the Things We Do or Say: “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

Afterwards, Ms. McNair said of the grant luncheon, “It's one of my favorite meetings of the year.”

Rotary Club of Lake Houston Area members and guests meet at 11:45 a.m. most Wednesdays for their weekly lunch meeting at the Lake Houston Family YMCA, 2420 West Lake Houston Pkwy. in Kingwood. Visitors wishing to learn more about Rotary are welcome.

The Summer Creek Satellite Rotary Club meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 8:30 a.m., at Generation Park 3rd floor Nimble Office Suite, 250 Assay St., Houston.

For more information about Rotary or membership, visit or search for our Facebook page @LakeHoustonAreaRotary.