Club Executives & Directors
President 2020-2021 (PE)
Immediate Past President
Executive Secretary
Sgt at Arms
Foundation Chair
RYLA Chair
Community Service Director
Service Committee
Service Committee

The Rotary Club of Needham - Welcome

Welcome to Needham! We are a great group of 30 members strong and growing. Men and Women, young and old – we meet for lunch every Tuesday. Our projects focus on giving back to both our community here and beyond.

Tuesdays, 12:00-1:30pm
Needham Sheraton: 100 Cabot Street

With interesting speakers and an energized group
every week, you will come away inspired.



Home Page Stories
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter May 26th, 2020
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and mandatory social distancing, most of our volunteer opportunities and community support activities have been postponed. In response, we've continued to fund local and international charities. We've continued to meet on Tuesdays at noon. But, to maintain social distancing, our meetings have moved on-line. 
In Our Community:
Our recent speaker, Chef Mike, gave away 640 meals on May 21st to low income families and assisted living facilities in Needham. The Rotary Club of Needham contributed $250 to help pay his expenses.
Socially Distant Rotary Club Summer Picnic: at Claxton Field in Needham at 5:30pm on Tuesday, June 16th.
1.) Salsa Club members from Needham High School: "What it's like to attend a virtual high school during the pandemic", and
2.) Jeff Dineen (photo "zooming" below) describes his "Cans for Calcium" program.
 Karen Shannon, Senior Program Director, Needham Public Health Division, moderated the club's discussion. The SALSA Club, Students Advocating Life without Substance Abuse, was organized to teach students in Needham Schools how to say no to drugs and alcohol. During the "Question and Answer" section at the end, the students said that "substance abuse is a social thing", that quarantine has made parties impossible and forced a temporary reduction in youth substance abuse. So, the current focus of the club's activity has shifted to finding positive ways to stay occupied during the pandemic. Our discussion was: what it's like to attend a virtual high school during the coronavirus quarantine.
First, they addressed the current learning process. Most students said that they are devoting as much time to schoolwork as they did before the quarantine; working from home about six hours a day. Assignments are available on-line on Sundays for completion by the following Friday. Remote learning has been effective, but with two caveats: it's harder and more time-consuming now to get extra help from a teacher, and lab classes don't work well online. From the students' point of view, the most onerous impact of the quarantine has been on the social lives of the students, especially seniors. Students are connecting with their friends using Zoom, gathering separately in cars, or working out or walking while maintaining social distance. Upperclassmen rituals: Senior Skip Day, Prom and the traditional Graduation Ceremony, are all cancelled. 
Happily, there will be a lockdown appropriate "Graduation Parade" from the Trip Advisor parking lot to Needham High School on June 7th. The Seniors were philosophical: "virtual is the best we can do" this year. They advised their parents and caregivers not to be too anxious about a celebration, they're ready to move on. The discussion closed with the students asking us to join them doing something positive during our confinement. They are making a montage of short videos about positive uses of quarantine time to post on the Needham Facebook page. They are asking for people to participate by sending their videos to: by May 30th. For more information about the SALSA Club:
Jeff Dineen, who is "almost" a lifetime resident of Needham, told us about his "Cans for Calcium" program. First, there was the opportunity: recycling incentive deposits that we pay when buying a beverage. Unclaimed deposits resulted in $46mm going to the state of Massachusetts in 2017. Then, there were two catalysts: when he retired three years ago, he had been spending $1,000 per month of his own money to buy milk for the Needham Food Pantry. And then, he noticed an unused shed at the Needham Recycling and Transfer Station. Together with Sandy Robinson of Needham's Community Council, they met with Greg Smith, Superintendant of the transfer station and got permission to use the shed. Since starting to gather donated containers beside the recycling bins in March of 2019, Jeff has collected about 280,000 deposit cans and bottles, which has raised $14,000 to purchase milk for the Needham Food Pantry. When the quarantine started, the shed was closed. Undaunted, Jeff started collecting cans for calcium using bins at the end of his driveway at 1625 Great Plain Avenue. Starting this week, the shed at the transfer station has reopened, and we can again conveniently donate our cans for calcium there. For more information:

Next week's speaker: Igor Golyak, Artistic Director, Arlekin Players, on Adapting the Performing Arts to Quarantine
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter May 19th, 2020
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and mandatory social distancing, most of our volunteer opportunities and community support activities have been postponed. In response, we've continued to fund local and international charities. We've continued to meet on Tuesdays at noon. But, to maintain social distancing, our meetings have moved on-line. 
Speakers: 1.) State Senator Becca Rausch on her 2020 Vote-By-Mail bill, and
2.) Torry Katsiroubas Stamm of Katsiroubas Brothers Wholesale Fruit and Produce on their Katsiroubas Cares Produce Boxes
Senator Rausch (photo left above) discussed the "emergency" bill that she introduced in April to facilitate safe voting by mail during the Coronavirus epidemic. Five states, including: Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii and Utah already automatically send ballots to the addresses of registered voters before elections. The Senator's bill would require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to send a ballot package to every registered voter at least 18 days in advance of a scheduled election. Each ballot package would contain: 1) an official ballot, 2) a secrecy envelope, 3) a prepaid return envelope addressed to the clerk of the town where the voter is registered, and 4) instructions in English, Spanish and three other languages. There would be a warning included about penalties for voter fraud, and the voter would be required to return a signed affidavit attesting that they did not commit voter fraud. 
Voters could still choose to vote in person, and the bill would require the provision of personal protective equipment to poll workers, if the state of emergency due to the coronavirus is still in place at the time of the election. The bill would also establish the first Tuesday in November as a holiday. The 2020 Vote By Mail law is a response to the emergency situation imposed by the coronavirus, so it is written with an expiration date of December 31st, 2020. For the full text of the bill, search in Google for Senator Rausch's official email address is:
Torry Katsiroubas Stamm (photo right above) owns a wholesale produce business, Katsiroubas Brothers, with her brother. The Katsiroubas siblings grew up in Needham, and Torry still lives here. They operate a 100,000 square foot, refrigerated warehouse out of Hyde Park with 200 employees, 70 trucks picking up and delivering within a 180 mile radius, and 1000 customers. They act as a middleman between farms and restaurants, which were about 80% of their business until the coronavirus quarantine. When all restaurants closed, they had to redirect a tidal wave of produce. Breaking the produce volume down into smaller, $25 Katsiroubas Cares produce boxes allowed their business to find retail customers. Each $25 box contains about $40-50 retail value of 3 to 5 items of each category of fruit, vegetables and greens (see photo below). Retail customers can order the produce boxes on line. They've established curbside pickup to serve their new, retail customers in Braintree, Needham, Roslindale, Beverly, Revere, Hamilton, and Quincy. In Needham, customers pick up their produce boxes once a week (Thursdays between 1:00-4:30) in the Newman School parking lot. The boxes are so popular that Needham customers are assigned time slots for pickup based on the alphabetical order of the first letter of their last name. 
While ordering, customers can donate the $25 produce boxes to the Needham Community Council, the Chelsea Collaborative or the Charles River Health Center in Brighton. Katsiroubas Brothers delivers the donated produce boxes to these locations. About 400 produce boxes have been donated so far to the Needham Community Council. To order or donate a Katsiroubas Cares produce box on-line:
Next week's speakers: 1.) members of the Needham High School Salsa Club will address what it's like to attend a virtual high school during the pandemic, and
2.) Jeff Dineen will tell us about his "Cans for Calcium" program that collects deposit cans and bottles and donates the proceeds to purchase milk for the Needham Food Pantry.
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter May 12th, 2020
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and mandatory social distancing, most of our volunteer opportunities and community support activities have been postponed. In response, we've continued to fund local and international charities. We've maintained our regular club meetings on Tuesdays at noon. But, to keep everyone safe, our meetings have moved on-line. 
Speakers: 1.) Dr Jeff Giles, Highland Animal Hospital (photo just below), and 2.) Steven Levine, Let There Be Light, International
Dr. Giles spoke about animal-to-human transmission of the coronavirus. We don't know the exact source of the current outbreak, but the Center for Disease Control states that it originally came from an animal. Some coronaviruses that infect animals can sometimes spread to humans. Then, there can be human to human transmission. Animal to human transmission is rare. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person by respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing and talking. People who are infected but who don't display symptoms also play a role in the spread of the disease. At this time, there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus. So, the risk of animals spreading the virus to humans is considered low.
On the other hand, Dr Giles noted that there are a handful of documented cases of people infected with COVID-19 spreading the virus to their animals. Here are his guidelines for caring for your pets during the pandemic:
  1. Don't let your pets interact with people or animals from outside your household.
  2. Keep cats inside.
  3. Walk your dog on a leash while maintaining six feet of distance from other people or animals.
  4. Avoid parks or dog parks where large numbers of people or animals gather.
And, if you're sick:
  1. If possible, have another member of your household take care of your pets when you're sick. If you must care for them, then wear a face mask and wash your hands before and after interacting with them.
  2. Avoid contact with your pet, including: petting kissing, sharing food or bedding.
Highland Animal Hospital has reconfigured its services to maintain social distancing during the pandemic. They ask their clients to call the clinic on arrival for an appointment. A staff person will meet the client at their car and bring their pet inside. Following the examination, they'll call to discuss any findings and to bring the pet back to the car.
For more information about Highland Animal Hospital:
For more information on caring for your pets during the coronavirus pandemic, search for: cdc/ corona virus disease 2019 (covid19)/ pets and other animals
Our second speaker, Steven Levine (photo just above),  from Let There Be Light, International (LTBLI), addressed this organization's efforts to provide basic lighting to vulnerable off-grid communities in sub-saharan Africa. Steven is an attorney specializing in private power generation, energy services and renewable energy technology development. He is managing director of Encap Development, a leading US renewable energy project developer, and he is on the Board of Directors of LTBLI. Steven told us about energy poverty: 600 million people in Africa have no access to electricity. Instead, they typically light their homes with kerosine lamps. They are dirty, dangerous and expensive to operate. Children are vulnerable to burns, accidental poisoning, respiratory illnesses and death. Without proper lighting, health clinics are limited to providing care only during daylight hours.
Working together with established local partners, LTBLI distributes solar lights to vulnerable families. They also use solar energy to electrify off-grid health clinics. They completed the electrification of their 39th clinic during their ten year history over the  prior weekend. A solar light is inexpensive to purchase and to operate. It costs about US$10-12, can be charged in daylight and the battery lasts throughout an overnight shift at a clinic. Solar lights can be used for about three years. A solar storage battery system to light a clinic costs about $3500 and lasts about 20 years. Each clinic serves about 15,000 people. In addition to the electrification of 39 health clinics, LTBLI has donated 15,000 solar lights to 81,000 people. Their geographic focus is in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.
LTBLI has a successful history of working together with US and in-country Rotary Clubs: the Rotary Club of Moorestown, NJ donated 670 solar lights, the Rotary Club of New London, CT donated 100 solar lights, and Buffalo's Sunrise Rotary Club helped electrify a clinic in Uganda.
For more information: There's information on the website about volunteering, fundraising, and there's a donation tab.
Next week's speakers: 1.) Terry Katsiroubas Stamm from the Katsiroubas Brothers Wholesale Fruit and Produce Company on food security and the food supply chain, and
2.) State Senator Becca Rausch on the mail-in voting initiative.
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter May 5th, 2020
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and mandatory social distancing, most of our volunteer opportunities and community support activities have been postponed. In response, we've continued to fund local and international charities. We've maintained our regular club meetings on Tuesdays at noon. But, to keep everyone safe, our meetings have moved on-line. 
In Our Community: 
We celebrated Ron Sockol's 90th birthday by singing an enthusiastic version of "Happy Birthday!" 
In the Needham Community:
The Scholarship Committee (Andy Winig, Bill Paulson, Chuck Buyer and Lois Sockol) has completed their review of this year's candidates and the winner will be announced at our next meeting.
Speakers: 1.) Sandy Robinson, Needham Community Council (highlighted within the photo below) and 2.) Cara Soulia (photo bottom right) and Kristen Collins for "The Front Steps Project"
Sandy Robinson, Executive Director, updated us on the condition of Needham's Community Council (NCC) during the coronavirus quarantine. On March 15th, Governor Baker closed schools and banned meetings of groups larger than 25 people. Since then, most NCC programs have been shut down, except the Food Pantry. With jobs lost to quarantine, demand for food has soared: the pantry served 354 households in April 2019, but in April 2020, they served 615. To maintain social distancing, the pantry changed to curbside pickup on Mondays and Wednesdays and to delivery on Fridays. People can schedule a pickup using "Signup Genius" or by phone. Volunteer participation has been reduced to a minimum to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus, since many volunteers are over 70.
While the cost of serving more people has increased, budgeted revenue has taken a hit from the closure of the Thrift Shop. The Thrift Shop typically accounts for about a third of a year's revenue. To plug this hole,  NCC has been working to re-open an Online Thrift Shop with curbside pickup within the next two to three weeks. Sandy characterized donations as "generous" and NCC's current financial condition as "OK", but she's worried looking out about four to five months from now. Regarding financial support, she urged: "Don't forget us!"
Sandy mentioned three ways we can help the Food Pantry during this crisis. We can  donate: 1.) "deposit" cans and bottles, 2.) Katsiroubas Cares Produce Boxes, and 3.) direct donation to NCC. Jeff Dineen has collected deposit cans and bottles at the Needham Transfer Station for years, donating the proceeds to provide milk at the Food Pantry. Social Distancing shut that program down.  But Jeff has adapted to quarantine, now he collects deposit cans and bottles in two barrels located at the end of his driveway at 1625 Great Plain Avenue. The Katsiroubas Brothers Wholesale Fruit and Produce business operates from Boston, and the family lives in Needham. Their "Katsiroubas Cares Produce Boxes" contain three to five items from each category of fruit, vegetables and greens with a retail value of $45-$60. For a donation of $25 to cover the cost, Katsiroubas Brothers will deliver a produce box to Needham's Food Pantry. To order a produce box: To donate online directly to Needham Community Council:
Here are the first words that you read on "The Front Steps Project" website:
"It feels like the world has stopped, doesn't it? Yet, we are very aware that we are still here in our community with my family, neighbors and friends. The purpose of this project is to bring us together virtually when we might feel isolated. We aim to highlight the faces of our community during a time when we might not see them in passing at the grocery store, coffee shop, on the train or at the gym. Participating in this project is also an opportunity to step up to help those who need it most right now."
Professional photographer and Needham resident, Cara Soulia wrote: "My friend (Needham resident) Kristen Collins came up with an idea to photograph our neighbors and Needham residents on their front steps. People would love the fresh air and maybe they'd donate to a local non-profit to join the fun." On March 18th, Cara snapped the first pictures of Needham families on their front steps. Within 24 hours over 100 families signed up. With the help of photographers Topher Cox and Caitrin Dunphy, they photographed 400 families within a week. Hundreds remain on the waiting list. In exchange for the professional image, the families are asked to donate $15 to the Needham Community Council, helping to plug the budget hole carved out by the coronavirus. The Front Steps Project has raised over $26,000 for NCC so far.
​​​​​​​After posting their pictures and mission to social media, Cara and Kristen were asked if they minded whether their project was copied in order to raise money for local charities. They established a website,, and they published bullet points there on how to get started. As a good news story in a dark time, they attracted lots of attention with articles in: People Magazine, CNN, ABC News, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Boston Magazine. Photographers across the country and the globe were inspired to start their own The Front Steps Projects. As of April 16th, over 400 photographers replicated #TheFrontStepsProject in their communities, raising over $1,000,000 for food pantries, hospitals, animal shelters and more.
There are 100 families on the list, waiting for a photo. The list is currently closed, but is expected to reopen for a limited amount of time. Cara and Kristen will post the reopening on The Front Steps Project Facebook page.
For more information:
Next week's speakers: 1.) Dr Jeff Giles, Highland Animal Hospital, and 2.) Sarah Baird, Let There Be Light, International
Dr Giles will speak on animal care in the era of COVID19. Sara Baird will talk about addressing the basic lighting needs of vulnerable, off-grid communities in sub-saharan Africa.
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter April 28th, 2020
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and mandatory social distancing, most of our volunteer opportunities and community support activities have been postponed. In response, we've continued to fund local and international charities. We've maintained our regular club meetings on Tuesdays at noon. But, to keep everyone safe, our meetings have moved on-line.
Surviving the Quarantine in the Restaurant Business. Speaker: Chef Mike Fucci (photo below)
Chef Mike Fucci talked to us about growing up in his family's restaurant business, mentored by his Uncle, the original "Chef Mike". Starting at 13, he learned the business from the bottom up: cleared tables, washed dishes, waited tables, cooked, eventually becoming head chef after his Uncle. When his Uncle died in 2004, Chef Mike took a break from the restaurant business. He wrote a cookbook: "Delicious Attitude", which brought the attention of The Food Network. He won their 2017 competition show, "Cutthroat Kitchen", where each episode featured four competing chefs in three elimination rounds. At the same time, he ran Chef Mike's catering business from Watertown.
Looking to reenter the "bricks and mortar" restaurant business, the availability of the former D'Angelos space at 73 Highland Avenue in Needham offered an opportunity. Chef Mike's Restaurant opened there at the end of July '19. Mike described his cooking style for the Boston Globe: "authentic and fast-casual. Everything is super fresh. There are no freezers in the building. Everything is prepared everyday." The menu offers Italian classics prepared with "time, patience, love and respect for the food". "People should come in and expect the classics, but also for there to be something different, maybe something they haven't had before". I have happily sampled Chef Mike's tasty chicken and sausage risotto, and I can testify that quantities are ample at attractive prices. Mike told the Globe with a laugh: "People are getting second meals out of me". 
To state the obvious, the coronavirus has increased the challenge of starting a new restaurant. Chef Mike's restaurant has stayed open as a curbside takeout, delivery, and catering business. His focus during quarantine is on scrupulous cleanliness of the kitchen and leading the staff around issues of exposure to the virus. Mike used profanity to describe the Federal government's small business rescue lending program, which was first-come, first-served, but hobbled by a portal crashing under the urgency of the demand, then it ran out of money, and it has lots of "strings attached". His thoughts: it's more important to have the love and support of the community than the support of the government.
Igor Golyak - Arlekin Players
Jun 02, 2020 12:00 PM
Adapting the performing arts to COVID-19 times
Adapting the performing arts to COVID-19 times
Scholarship Winner
Jun 09, 2020 12:00 PM
Award scholarship to Needham High School scholarship winner
NO MEETING: Summer picnic tomorrow
Jun 16, 2020 12:00 PM
Lobsterman Dan Tibma
Jun 23, 2020 12:00 PM
How to be a lobsterman
Lynn Holmlund - IDG Inc.
Jun 30, 2020 12:00 PM
New Needham headquarters for IDG on the shores of Cutler Pond
The Needham Channel
Jul 14, 2020 12:00 PM
The Needham Channel - What are they and how do they work?
Maxwell Surprenant - Needham student
Jul 21, 2020 12:00 PM
Lessons learned during COVID-19
Diana Nestorova, District 7910 Governor
Aug 18, 2020
What's new in Rotary
Nov 24, 2020

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