Adam's letter below is self explanatory.  Congratulations and well done to all who gave of their time and resources at this critical time.  You certainly lived the Serve to Change Lives theme for this Rotary year.  And I must add another thank you to all the Clubs and Rotarians who donated to the RABS appeal. And a special mention to the RC Canberra for their donation to the Helping Hands project from the JC Olsen Trust.

Leo Farrelly, DG9705

Dear Presidents and Secretaries of the ACT

Please forgive an open letter this time!

Covid lockdown brought many challenges but it also brought empathy and generosity.  A great example of that empathy and generosity was the response of Garry Malhotra and his team in providing food to those who needed it, the project known as Helping Hands.  And we, as Rotarians across the ACT, played our part in that.

There is this last week to go.

The provision of daily cooked food will cease with the end of lockdown – on Friday 15 October life goes back to the new normal.  The Rotary roster of drivers closes at that point, our District’s response ceases at that point.  We close the charitable RABS account.  Looking back, we helped make a difference: some 80 people put in 1400 or so hours volunteer effort to deliver across the ACT (and into Yass) … and so far over $23,000 in financial support from clubs, individuals, the JC Olsen Trust and Hands Across Canberra.

Among other things the Helping Hands project highlighted social needs in Canberra which were not caused by Covid, but which had been magnified and highlighted by it.  Garry Malhotra is looking at options on how to help address some of these … perhaps by providing weekly food hampers as well as free hot meals on weekends at his catering premises in Narrabundah, workshops on IT literacy for the elderly, classes on yoga for mental balance.   Rotarians as individuals would be welcome to register their interest in supporting any such efforts by contacting Garry on or 0433 441 885.

Big thanks again to everyone who has been part of this Covid effort!  Without the help of so many it simply would not have been possible for it to reach as many people as it did.  We don’t have numbers for those whom we helped but with well over 150K meals prepared it has to be quite significant.  The financial help was also a really significant enabler.  I was quite blown away by the sense of community spirit shown out at Narrabundah, day after day after day … that is certainly one memory that I will take away.

As always, should you have any questions or comments please just get in touch.

With warm regards


On behalf of the core response team of AG Desmond Woods, PP Geoff Stonehouse, DRR Shawn Wilson, PDG Mick Newling, PP Keith Edmonds