With this year’s annual Chocolate Festival falling on Veteran’s Day, November 11, the Pawling Rotary Club will honor the members of the Pawling American Legion. The American Legion is one of the nation’s most renowned veteran’s associations, chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization, focusing on service to veterans, service members and communities. According to their website, “The Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth.” Among the noteworthy, influential programs offered by the American Legion are Operation Comfort Warriors, which supports wounded warriors, myriad programs designed to assist and encourage youth (including the award-winning Boys and Girls State/Nation annual conference that teaches youngsters about the democratic process), and scholarships. The Legacy Scholarship, one of the most vital, insures higher education for children of post-9/11 veterans. The American Legion has also supported the Boy Scouts of America since 1919, offering a significant scholarship to the Eagle Scout of the year.
Locally, the American Legion of Pawling supports the community’s youngsters through scholarships, sending participants to Boys and Girls State, supporting Cub Scout Pack 34 (for the last sixty years), maintaining Veterans Memorial Plaza in the heart of the village, and honoring the memory of all veterans with the placement of over 650 American flags on gravesites in local cemeteries.
Along with Rotary’s Spring Fundraiser providing dollars for Pawling Rotary’s Roger Smith Scholarship Fund, The Chocolate Festival, which occurs each fall, raises funds for all the other worthwhile organizations in Pawling that support youngsters and their families. The grants that are funded by this event offer opportunities made available through The Smith Johnson Scout Cabin, The Pawling Resource Center and their family outreach programs, The Pawling Free library, Pawling Youth Development, the Interact Club, Pawling Public Radio’s internship and apprenticeship programs, and the Pawling Fire Department for their unstinting protection of Pawling’s children and families. Additional programs that benefit from Chocolate Festival proceeds include the Rotary Third Grade Dictionary Project, underwriting two annual College Tours for high school juniors and seniors, and the Resource Center’s adopt a family program at holiday time. Moreover, these dollars assist with annual donations to Rotary International’s Charitable Foundation, which supports the worldwide eradication of Polio and to Shelter Box, which provides temporary shelter to families that have been displaced due to natural and man-made global disasters.
The 4th Annual Rotary Chocolate Festival will be held in the Lathrop Center at Lakeside Park on Saturday, November 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Opportunities for Sponsorships of this event will be available through October 24. Log onto the Rotary website at PawlingRotary.org for further information.