Letter from the Putnam County Rotary: This time of year can be lonely

Keyboard - letter to the editor

Hello and happy new year Putnam County Record readers,

Well, the rush of the holidays, family visits, school vacations, cooking, baking and everything that goes with the holiday season are all behind us. I hope you all celebrated in your own way and had an enjoyable season. But, let’s face it for many the loneliness of winter might be setting in.

It’s too cold. It’s snow, icy and slippery out there. It could also be wet and muddy. It’s Illinois where we can get every season in the span of a few days. The kids are back in school so families are busy getting back into the routine of studying, practices, games and barely having time to sit down to eat a meal together.

I hear of too many who sit alone at home in an empty, quiet, house with no knocks on the door. Loneliness isn’t a pretty thing. I recently read an article that said it increases our risk of developing a range of illnesses and disorders. Depression is at its highest after the holidays.

Loneliness can lead to social withdrawal, being more anxious, more sad and less likely to want to be physically active. The effects of loneliness don’t end at bedtime, we can suffer from poor sleep and insomnia, which leads us to be tired and more worn out than we were last month when we were busy.

Why did I pick loneliness to bring up this month? I know, shut up Deb, we don’t need to be reminded that we are alone and not going out or getting visitors. Well, this is where Rotary comes in.

As Rotarians we are encouraged to live with our eyes open, practice service above self and to do things that matter. Which is why we keep busy with projects year round. There is no longer a perfect attendance rule, so there is no excuse, you can miss meetings.

We meet at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month at LJ’s in Magnolia for dinner and a business meeting. Occasionally, we may have a “field trip.” We try to attend various school programs as a group, work on upcoming projects and look for interesting programs to present.

We recently enjoyed a night tour of the Hegeler Mansion. We are looking forward to a program on tourism in our area in February and going to a library program in March at the Hennepin Library to listen to Putnam County’s very own Victor Gensini present a program.

As president, I try to get business done so that members can visit, share their ideas, tell their “Happy Buck” stories and feel the friendship of Rotary members. We all need a little comfort and care and Rotary can help with both. In our loneliness I think we all feel the need for a friend and I sincerely think at PC Rotary we can help alleviate the loneliness that can happen to any of us.

In that same article, I read that with every step we take to alleviate loneliness in finding social connections our blood pressure levels, stress hormones lessen, we get better sleep patterns and just an overall feeling of better well being. Part of the article said that getting involved in a volunteer organization, such as Rotary, we can help alleviate loneliness.

I invite you to come to a meeting. You can join, volunteer or simply come see what Rotary is in Putnam County. In the upcoming months we will be working on this years Grant Project, “Soup for Seniors,” where we will be making two soups for all seniors on the voter registration list, 75 and older, which means we will be feeding almost 600 of our senior citizens.

Both of our Interact Clubs will be involved, as well as some volunteers. Maybe you would like to help too. Come to a meeting to learn more.

As part of out literacy program PC Rotary also will be doing a “New Book Drive” during the next two months for all Putnam County Schools and each branch of our county libraries. Maybe you would like to donate a new book of any type (children, young adult, adult, infant board books, large print books, etc.) to this project. Let a Rotary member know if you have any books to donate. Only criteria is it must be new.

Of course if we are able to have Prom Afterglow for our high school students we are always looking for volunteers to help set up, take down and/or work at the fun late night.

Bottom line, PC Rotary welcomes any and all new volunteers and members. As president, I would like to invite you to visit a meeting, talk to a member and help with upcoming events. We try to make sure everyone feels welcome.

We hope our projects help county residents of all ages. I hope you think about joining us and I promise for at least two nights of the month you will not be lonely. So whether it’s soup, books, Afterglow or just a night out that interests you, I hope you think about visiting us at PC Rotary. We’d love to have you join or volunteer with us. I hope to see you soon.

Always, Service Above Self.

Debbie Buffington – President, Putnam County Rotary