Club News

The Rotary Club of Hamburg enjoyed meeting fellow Rotarians from area clubs in Western New York and Southern Ontario at the 2023 Rotary District 7090 Conference at Niagara County Community College on April 15. The occasion marked the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic that the district was able to meet in three years and passings were noted for members who are no longer with us. Attendees learned of new developments, shared knowledge and skills and enjoyed fellowship during the event. Pictured are from left: Brandi Reed, a former Hamburg Club member and current member of the Lockport Club; President Diana Straube, Lisa Avery, Wendy Hvisdak, Michele Hanley, Eileen Hotho and President-elect Tim Straube. Lisa Avery also presented information on the Paul Harris Foundation.


The Rotary Club of Hamburg once again hosted a very busy shredding event with Lincoln Archives from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 6 in the parking lot of Northwest Bank, 5751 South Park Avenue, Hamburg.  

The public was invited to bring personal and business documents – bills, medical files, tax documents and more – to be shredded on site (customers could stay to watch or just drop off their documents).  

The cost was $10 per standard bankers 12x17x10 box or bag, with the cost of an oversized box to be determined at the site. This is an annual event so start collecting your documents now!  See you next spring!


 The Rotary Club of Hamburg hosted speakers from Harmonia Collaborative Care at their April 4 meeting at Uncle Joe’s Diner on Southwestern Boulevard in Hamburg. The non-profit provides counseling, senior care, home health care and care companion services from locations in Hamburg and Derby. Pictured from left are: Taylor Butterfield, CarePanion Manager, Rotary President Diana Straube and Jennifer Gunia, Director of Senior Services. The Rotary Club was founded in Hamburg in 1942 and is part of District 7090 covering Southern Ontario and Western New York. The motto of Rotary International is Service Above Self.  


The Rotary Club of Hamburg has been addressing food insecurity in Western New York since 2018 under the direction of Rotarian Earl Knauss and in 2022, it distributed 102,000 pounds of produce to food pantries in Buffalo and Erie County, serving about 3,000 families.  

The produce distribution program has been in operation since 2007 when it was founded by Knauss with the assistance of a few volunteers who took donated food to several food pantries. Five years ago, the Rotary Club agreed to join Knauss, making the production one of its official projects and christened it Farms to Families with expenses to be borne by the Rotary Club of Hamburg. The food distribution runs from May through December delivering the vegetables that are in season or available Monday through Saturday each week.  

Spring through fall, pairs of Rotarians and volunteers travel to participating local farms and pick up fruit and vegetables, most of it with slight visual imperfections. The donations are then distributed to the dining rooms and pantries for meals and distribution to those facing economic challenges.  

The second annual Craft & Vendor show brought many vendors, some new and some return vendors.  The hall throughout the day was filled with many shoppers looking for Valentine gifts, home decorating ideas and even early Easter gifts.  Members of The Hamburg Moose served food throughout the day and the bar was open.  Congratulations to the basket raffle winners!  We are looking forward to next year!  For more information for next years show email 
Wendy Hviskak, right, was welcomed into the Rotary Club of Hamburg Dec. 6 at Uncle Joe’s Diner during the club’s regular meeting. She is shown with Club President Diana Straube. Wendy is an occupational therapist working in the West Seneca Central School District. Club Secretary Tim Straube presided over ceremonies and Rotarian Eileen Hotho was named mentor. Andrew Hvisdak was a special guest. 
Rotary Club of Hamburg Sponsors 15th Annual Warm the Children Program
Although Western New York has enjoyed glorious, mild autumn weather, cold temperatures, snow and ice are sure to greet us in the coming weeks.  Over 400 youngsters will be ready for winter weather, some experiencing winter for the very first time. 
“As temperatures dip and snow falls, families participating in this year’s Warm the Children program have winter jackets, warm hats, gloves and cuddly pajamas, courtesy of caring individuals, organizations and local foundations, which have made generous contributions to this year’s Warm the Children program,” explains Elizabeth Angelbeck, who coordinates the program for Rotary Club of Hamburg each year.
Volunteer shoppers, who accompany families from the greater Hamburg area to Walmart, share stories of gratefulness on the part of parents, grandparents and even great grandparents, after they’ve selected new, warm clothing for their children. 
Warm the Children is the grateful beneficiary of a $4,000 gift from Ferrous Manufacturing in Hamburg, in addition to generous donations from Zonta Club of Hamburg/Orchard Park, Hamburg United Methodist Church, Frontier Central Retired Employees Association, Hamburg Central Retirees and other community members.
Tax deductible donations are still being accepted.  Giving levels include: Joyful Benefactor ($500 or higher); Caring Supporter ($200-$499); Special Friend ($100-$199).  However, donations in ANY amount are greatly appreciated!  Those wishing to contribute may do so by making checks payable to Warm the Children Fund, and either mailing or bringing donations to Evans Bank, 5999 S. Park Avenue, Hamburg, NY 14075.  Or, contributions may be made online at
Out of sight gas prices.  Rising food costs.  Higher heating bills.  These are just a few of the serious challenges so many families are dealing with this year.
Rotary Club of Hamburg is proud to sponsor Warm the Children, which provides new, warm, winter clothing to boys and girls from families who reside in Hamburg, Angola, Blasdell, Derby, Boston, Eden, North Collins, Lake View and Brant. Last year, as a result of the kindness and generosity of donors in the community, Warm the Children brought joyful smiles to approximately 400 youngsters in need! 
“As our Club begins its 15th year of coordinating Warm the Children for local families in need, we want to express our appreciation to the community for its generous support,” says Elizabeth Angelbeck, who directs the program with schools, churches and social service agencies in the Southtowns.  100% of all contributions go toward the purchase of new clothing for children in need and is fully tax-deductible.  All administrative costs are absorbed by Rotary, while Club members are responsible for program coordination, with assistance from Evans Bank and community volunteers, who meet families at Walmart in Hamburg to select their clothing.
The generous support of the Louise K. Mokadam Family Trust, National Grid and other organizations in the community have allowed the program to begin early this fall.  “We want to encourage those who wish to contribute to Warm the Children to do so as early as possible, so we may send as many families to Walmart as possible before the snow begins to fall,” says Angelbeck.
Those wishing to contribute may do so by making checks payable to Warm the Children Fund, and either mailing or bringing donations to Evans Bank, 5999 S. Park Avenue, Hamburg, NY 14075.  Or, contributions may be made online at
Speakers from Red Barn Occupational Therapy, PLLC presented information about their organization at the Oct. 18 meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamburg. Pictured are from left, Kristen Murray, owner/occupational therapist, Rotarian Colleen Gibbons and Anna North, head horse handler. The practice is located at 5660 Shero Road, Hamburg and primarily serves pediatric patients through equine (hippotherapy) treatment with horses and gardening in a rural setting.
Although the day of the Harvestfest was windy, rainy and cold, many people came out and stayed warm under the heated tents!  Photo 1 is Bad Habit who played from 2-5:30 followed by (photo 2) Boys of Summer who played from 6:00 - 10.  Looking forward to next year.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate.  Great partnership between the clubs!
Rotary Club of Hamburg installs new officers, honors former Mayor Tom Moses, awards 3 Paul Harris Fellows, marking 80 years of service to Hamburg and the world. 
The Rotary Club of Hamburg installed its new slate of officers June 28 in ceremonies that also marked the service organization’s 80 years of existence. It was founded on Feb. 24, 1942 and chartered in June that year. Diana Straube was sworn in as the new president. Tim Hoelscher, CPA was sworn in as treasurer and Tim Straube took the oath as secretary for the Rotary year of 2022-23 which begins on July 1. District Governor Elect Scott Marcin administered the oath of office. 
The Rotary Club honored former Village of Hamburg Mayor Tom Moses, an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Hamburg, was honored for his many years of community service as both mayor of Hamburg and as a longtime volunteer with the Hamburg Fire Department. He was presented the Rotary Club of Hamburg Outstanding Service Award by outgoing President Michele Hanley, who was also recognized for her year of service to the organization. 
Paul Harris Awards were presented to club members Lisa Avery, Patricia Castiglia and Earl Knauss in recognition of financial support of Rotary. Master of Ceremonies and Rotarian Tom Johnston presented those awards. Three former members were given the designation of honorary members: Jerry Bastedo, Bill Bredenberg and Sid Jack. 
The Rotary Club of Hamburg supports efforts of Rotary International globally, such as the eradication of polio, and locally presents Warm the Children, provides college scholarships to Hamburg, Frontier and St. Francis high school students and is one of the four service organizations that coordinates the Burger Fest each July. The Rotary Club meets Tuesday evenings at 6 p.m. at Uncle Joe’s Diner. 



Just in time to safely destroy old financial documents after tax time, the Rotary Club of Hamburg once again held a secure shredding event on Saturday, April 30 with Lincoln Archives in the parking lot of Northwest Bank on South Park Avenue in Hamburg. The club netted over $1,500 while enjoying fresh air and sunshine. In Photo  #1, President-Elect Diana Straube, left, and President Michele Hanley stand in front of the club’s inflatable logo sign. In Photo #2, Rotarian Patricia Castiglia directs traffic toward the shredding line. The Rotary Club of Hamburg was founded in 1942 as a part of Rotary International with a motto of “Service Above Self.” The Rotary Club oversees the annual Warm the Children Program, has supported hundreds of civic and charitable causes locally and internationally since its inception, and funds annual college scholarships for Hamburg graduating high school seniors. It is one of the four service clubs that has run the annual BurgerFest for over 20 years. 

The Rotary Club of Hamburg-KeyBank BurgerFest Cruise replaces the former car show on Main Street at the BurgerFest on Saturday, July 16th this year.  There is no pre-registration required and there is no cost to participate. Those bringing their entries to the cruise should arrive between 10 a.m. and noon and enter Main Street from Center Street.
The cruise will be open to a larger variety of vehicles, not just classic cars, from noon to 3:30 p.m. The BurgerFest will take place along Main and Buffalo streets and in the Hamburg Village Municipal Parking Lot from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. with the streets closed to traffic until 8 p.m. Live bands, a beer tent and activities will continue in the Municipal Lot until closing. 
Two awards will be presented at the close of the cruise at 3:30: the Rotary Club of Hamburg-Keybank BurgerFest Best of Show Award and the People's Choice Award, selected by the crowds on hand. For more information, call Tom Johnston at 716-627-4411. “We are changing the car show to a cruise show, which was necessary because of Covid-19 and because Dr. Sid Jack, founder of the show has retired and moved out of the area,” Johnston said. “A cruise show allows anyone to display their car, truck, motorcycle or unusual vehicle.” Johnston also thanked KeyBank for its longtime sponsorship and support. 
For more information about Burgerfest click here: Burgerfest 2022
The Rotary Club of Hamburg purchased No-Sew Fleece Blanket Kits and got to work making blankets for ECMC's Palliative Care Unit.  These blankets are given to patients as they are admitted to the Unit and are provided to the family in memory of their loved one.  This is the third year the club has made and donated blankets.  See additional photos.  
Top Row from left to right - Rotarians Dale Stanley, Barb Stanley and Michele Hanley (Club President)
ECMC Staff - Sue Derenda (LPN, Palliative Care) and Santocha Gompah (Unit Manager, Palliative Care).
Thanks for joining us for our second annual Drive-thru Corned Beef Dinner.  It was held on Thursday, March 17th at the Hamburg Moose, 45 Church Street from 3-7pm.  Again, this year we sold out of dinners!
For more information about our club and how you can be part of our community events, send an email to  
The Rotary Club of Hamburg at its March 8 meeting at Uncle Joe’s Diner heard a presentation by financial planners Matthew Shontz and Linda Banks of Equitable Advisors. The club, founded in 1942, oversees the distribution of food through its Farms to Families program, coordinates the annual Warm the Children winter clothing drive and is one of four service organizations that organizes the annual BurgerFest in the Village of Hamburg on the third Saturday in July. From left are: Rotary Membership Chair Tim Straube, Rotary President Michele Hanley, Matthew Shontz and Linda Banks. 
Bryanna Prince, Events and Volunteer Coordinator for the Buffalo area Salvation Army, right, accepted this year’s sock donation at the Feb. 22 meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamburg at Joe’s Diner. Pictured with her are from left: Rotarians Jeff Kusche, President Michele Hanley, Patricia Castiglia and Jill Martucci, chair of the Sock Distribution Committee. 

The Rotary Club of Hamburg has distributed100 pairs of winter quality socks to the homeless in Buffalo annually since 2016. The project began in answer to a challenge from Rotary International to engage that year in activities designed for the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation. The club membership felt that because of Western New York’s cold winters and increased population of homeless people that the distribution of warm socks would be meaningful while filling an urgent need.
Thank you for supporting our first Winter/Valentine Craft Show that was held on Saturday February 5th from 10 am - 3 pm.  It was held at the Hamburg Moose Hall, 45 Church Street in Hamburg.  Keep us in mind when you are looking for Valentine gifts or Mother's Day gifts. Mark your calendars for next year! More information will be posted in December. 
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