June 25, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Helping Hands and the Brentwood Rotary

The Rotary and students from the Braille Institute - Photo Credit Richard Thompson

The West Los Angeles Brentwood Rotary Club is involved in so many projects. Locally, it has been active in such organizations as Brentwood Green and Brentwood Beautiful. They give food to the needy on Thanksgiving, work to help Guide Dogs for the Blind, and so much more. The following projects are two you may not know about.

Brentwood photographer Richard Thompson is perhaps best known for his sharp eye. But for the past quarter century the professional photographer has devoted his heart and a big chunk of his personal resources to helping people in need in the Dominican Republic.

In 1982 Thompson was working in the country as a photographer. He spent 10 days living in a one-room house with dirt floors, experiencing poverty first hand. He began making trips to Santo Domingo, the capital, to bring food and medical care to those in need. In 1984 the Brentwood Rotary Club became involved and donated $2,000 to bring relief and basic supplies.

Once or twice a year, Thompson loads his duffle bags with clothing and supplies purchased and donated to the club.  He delivers those and food staples to needy families by taxi.

Last November, tropical storm Noel hit the small nation, which shares the island with Haiti and Hispaniola, leaving a disaster in its wake. The Rotary offered an immediate donation to help those affected by the disaster. Thompson flew down in May to help.

Del Mano Gallery owner Ray Leier is the man behind the Brentwood Art Fair each spring and fall. Proceeds raised by the event benefit the blind. Each year, Leier takes students from the Braille Institute out on a fishing trip.  Students board a vessel and go out into deep water to experience the joy of reeling in a catch on the open ocean.

The spring and fall art fair began as a fundraising project of the West Los Angeles Brentwood Rotary Club. Rotary members and other volunteers join them to provide a quality experience for young people who are blind. Each Braille participant is paired with a sighted guide for the duration of the trip. This year’s fishing trip was on August 25.

The Brentwood organization is part of Rotary International, the world’s first service club organization. There are more than 1.2 million members who volunteer each year to help others worldwide and promote goodwill.

To learn more about the Rotary Club and the good things they do, join them at their weekly meeting at Chez Mimi, 246 26th Street on Tuesdays at 12:15 p.m. or visit www.wla-brentwoodrotary.org

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