Rotary to provide aid in Philippines

Eight Summerlanders will travel to the Philippines in October as part of a medical humanitarian effort.

Eight Summerlanders will travel to the Philippines in October as part of a medical humanitarian effort.

The Summerlanders who participate will work with Rotoplast in Cebu City, Philippines, Oct. 5 to 14.

Rotoplast, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Rotary International, will provide cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries to those in need.

The last time Rotoplast was in the Philippines in 2013, a typhoon shortened the medial work and as a result, 55 children were not able to get the necessary surgeries.

The eight Summerland participants will be non-medical volunteers. They will provide support for the medical team, including documenting the work and providing transportation.

At present, three members of the Summerland Rotary Club have committed to going to the Philippines and three more are considering making the trip.

“It’s a great hands-on opportunity for our members,” said Denese Espeut-Post, president of the Summerland Rotary Club.

Interested members of the public who are not part of Rotary are also invited to attend.

Espeut-Post said the team members’ costs in the Philippines are covered. Non-medical volunteers must cover the costs of their own airfare, estimated at $1,200 to $1,500 each.

She added that the purpose of the trip is to provide assistance to the medical team, not sightseeing or vacationing.

“The focus is the surgical procedures,” she said.

Additional information is available online at www.rotoplast.org.

Those interested in participating are asked to contact Espeut-Post at Avery Law Office.

Rotoplast was started by the Rotary Club of San Francisco in 1992. Today it is a separate organization, affiliated with Rotary.

This is the first time the Summerland Rotary Club is participating in a Rotoplast medical mission.

In addition to the individual travel costs for the participants, the Summerland club’s cost of sponsoring this program is $58,000.

Espeut-Post said the club is looking for donations and will host fundraising events.

Donors will receive tax receipts for their contributions.

In addition to this international project, the Summerland Rotary Club is active within Summerland.

Local projects have included work with the Giant’s Head Grind in spring and trail maintenance work.