Club News

The Rotary Club of Hamburg will once again host a shredding event with Lincoln Archives from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 4 in the parking lot of Northwest Bank, 5751 South Park Avenue, Hamburg.  

The public is invited to bring personal and business documents – bills, medical files, tax documents and more – to be shredded on site (customers can 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. 

When most people think about retirement, they imagine a life of  travel and leisure pursuits, but not Earl Knauss. At age 92, he leads the dynamic Rotary Club of Hamburg Farm to Family Program that from May to November 2023 provided 125,550 pounds of fresh vegetables (surpassing its 2022 total of 102,000 pounds) to thousands of individuals challenged by food insecurity in Western New York.
The operation distributes locally grown vegetables from three Eden, NY farms throughout the growing season to food pantries at non-profit organizations, churches and shelters in Hamburg, Buffalo and beyond. (See our condensed story published in the December issue of Rotary Magazine).
It all began with some funny-looking red peppers in 2007. Knauss was given three bushels of misshapen vegetables by a neighbor who had gotten five bushels from a farmer for free because they couldn’t sell them.  “These peppers were perfect except for their shape,” Knauss recalls with a shake of his head. “They could not be sold to the supermarkets, and I discovered that odd shaped, blemished and imperfect vegetables were dumped or destroyed.” He asked Bill Zittel of Amos Zittel & Sons Farms for permission
The Rotary Club of Hamburg provided meals for families staying at the Buffalo Ronald McDonald House on Oct. 26. The club supported the endeavor by purchasing the groceries and ingredients for the meals prepared at the Ronald McDonald House at 780 West Ferry St.  
Rotarians Colleen Gibbons and Eileen Hotho along with Krista Van Wagner, culinary instructor at Global Concepts Charter School and her student Selena Peña prepared the meal. Van Wagner is a well-known local chef and former longtime owner of Curly’s Restaurant. The Rotarian group prepared chicken Françoise, boulangère potatoes, crisp buttery carrots and apple cake for dessert.
The Ronald McDonald House provides the comforts of home for the families of young patients undergoing treatment at Oishei Children's Hospital of Buffalo. The Ronald McDonald House is celebrating its 40th anniversary and is staffed with full-time and part-time employees. Volunteers provide the dinners through the Meal Makers/Comfort Club at the house.
Photos from left: Krista Van Wagner, Colleen Gibbons and Selena Peña. 
The Rotary Club of Hamburg is sponsoring its 16th Annual Warm the Children Program.  Although Western New York has enjoyed mild autumn weather, cold temperatures, snow and ice are sure to greet us in the coming weeks, especially based on last year’s historic snowstorms!
Over 480 youngsters are ready for the cold 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.
Over 75 community volunteer shoppers, who accompany families 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 donations from Hamburg & Frontier Central Retirees Associations, Alice L. Say Foundation, Dreamcatcher Foundation, Louise K Mokadam Family Foundation, East Hill Foundation along with other community organizations and caring individuals. Warm the Children truly kicks off the season of giving.  
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
Lisa Avery and volunteer Cindy Tobin Wagner kept watch at the entrance to the Labatt Beer Tent Saturday afternoon at BurgerFest. Print Media Publicity Chair Eileen Hotho posed with one of the Food Contest Judges she recruited, Chef Krista Van Wagner, former owner of Curly's Restaurant, graduate of the Culinary Institute, teacher and owner of Krista's Kitchen. The BurgerFest Food Contest winners were: Best Burger in the the Burg, O'Brien's West End Inn for their entry of Smokehouse Burger; Most
The Rotary Club of Hamburg honored its new president, Tim Staube for the 2023-2024 year that begins July 1 during its annual picnic at the Taylor Road Cabin on June 20th. Presiding over the ceremonies were Outgoing President Diana Staube, longtime Rotarian Tom Johnston and Hamburg resident Scott Marcin, a member of the Amherst South Rotary Club who was just days away from assuming leadership of Rotary District 7090, a sprawling international district comprising Southern Ontario and Western New York and the Rotary Club of Hamburg among the 75 Rotary Clubs comprising the district.
The club recognized Tim Hoelscher and Lisa Avery as Paul Harris Award recipients at the club's annual officer's changeover event. This achievement is named after the founder of Rotary in Chicago in 1905 and was awarded by District 7090 Governor, Scott Marcin. 

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. 
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