$500 Rotary donation supports food pantry Christmas baskets

The Hammonton Rotary Club presented a $500 donation to the Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry Thursday, Dec. 16 to support its annual Christmas food basket program for local families in need.

The food baskets, which also included Christmas gifts for children, were distributed Saturday, Dec. 18 at the food pantry located on French Street.

The food pantry is always in need of support, especially after the holiday season when donations tend to drop off.

To find out how you can help your neighbors in their time of need with donations of time, food or money, call director Ed Muller at 609 412 4604. 

Mail financial donations to the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry, c/o St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish, 226 French Street, Hammonton, NJ 08037. 

The food pantry will be closed Dec. 23 and Dec. 30 for the Christmas holiday.

The pantry is normally open 2:30- 4 p.m., and 7-8:30 p.m. Thursdays to anyone in the 08037 zip code including Collings Lakes.

To receive food you must provide ID and proof of address such as a driver’s license, phone or utility bill, or a lease with your name on it.

Proof of dependents is also required such as a report card or a Social Security card with your child’s name on it or a birth certificate. Also bring proof of income such as a pay stub, unemployment statement or benefits award letter. 

The first time you go to the food pantry you will receive help to register. Each time after that an ID will be required.

The food pantry is operated completely by volunteers.


Hammonton Rotary supports local families in need this Thanksgiving

The Hammonton Rotary Club presented a $500 donation to the Saint Vincent de Paul Food Pantry Thursday, Nov. 4 to support its annual Thanksgiving food basket program for local families in need.

Food baskets wil be distributed from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 20. 

The food pantry is always in need of support. Send your donations to the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry, c/o St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish, 226 French Street, Hammonton, NJ 08037

To find out how you can help call Muller at 609 412 4604.

The food pantry will be closed Nov. 25 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Sharing ‘Blessings in a Bag’ this holiday season

Not all people have food, shelter, and the basic necessities of life. They need help just to survive.

Helping people in desperate need is a big job for frontline organizations like the Atlantic City Rescue Mission. They can’t go it alone. They need help from the community.

During this season of giving, Hammontonians can chip in by supporting two community conscious service clubs at Hammonton High School.

The Interact Club and the Key Club are inviting students and staff to participate in their “Blessings in a Bag” service project. The program will be collecting toiletries, personal items, and non-perishable foods for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission now through Dec. 16. Donation boxes are located in the main lobby of the high school.

The Hammonton Rotary Club, which sponsors the Hammonton High School Interact Club, is providing support by donating 75 hats, 75 pairs of socks, 75 chapsticks and 40 toothbrushes. The students’ goal is to collect 100 bags of items for donation to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission.

Toiletries being collected include toothbrushes, travel size toothpaste, dental floss, soap, deodorant, travel size shampoo and conditioner, icombs and brushes, bandaids, all-purpose wipes, chapstick, and toothbrush covers.

Personal items being collected include new socks, hats (beanies), gloves, scarves, hand warmer packs, foot warmers, gallon size Ziploc bags, pens and pencils, stationery pads, and stamps.

Non-perishable foods include granola bars, energy bars, tuna cracker packs, trail mix, beef jerky, fruit snacks, raisins, peanuts, gum/hard candy, hot cocoa/spiced cider mixes, and instant coffee.

Items bought in bulk will be accepted only if they are individually wrapped or packaged.

For information on how you can help email tsantora@hammontonps.org.

30 Turn Out for Rotary’s Inaugural Fun Shoot

More than 30 sports men and women turned out Saturday, Oct. 2 for the inaugural Hammonton Rotary Club Fun Shoot.

Shooters of all ages and skill levels gathered at the Pine Valley Trap Club in Berlin to load up their shotguns and test their skills while taking advantage of the fine fall weather.

Ticket holders received 50 shotgun shells, lunch, a T-shirt plus a chance to win some outstanding giveaways.

Proceeds in excess of expenses support Rotary Club scholarships and community service projects.

Wine Event Tradition Resumes

About 100 people gathered at Hammonton Fire Company No. 2 Saturday, Sept. 25 for the 15th Annual Hammonton Rotary Club Wine Event.

Amateur winemakers competed in 18 categories to see whose wine would be judged the best by the patrons of the event and a team of professional judges. The popular event was extra special after being postponed twice in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic,

The People’s Choice Award as selected by those in attendance went to Charles Mish for a 2020 semi-dry Chilean sauvignon blanc.

People’s Choice winner Charles Mish.

Wines were also judged the week before by a panel of wine experts and sommeliers organized by Gary Pavlis, Ph.D., Rutgers University agricultural agent for Atlantic County who has participated in the event every year since it began.

The experts organized the entries into categories or “flights” based on such criteria as dry vs sweet, type of grape or fruit, year of vintage, or the region in which the grape was grown. The professionals named first-, second-, and some third-place winners for each flight plus a best of show.

The Best of Show Award as selected by the professional judges was a tie.

One of those first-place awards wet to Keith Gazzara for a 2019 semi-dry concord chocolate pomegranate wine. The other Best of Show Award as selected by the professional judges was a 2019 semi-dry raspberry wine made by Nick and Gabrielle Carini.

The evening also included door prizes and a 50/50. Funds raised in excess of expenses will go toward Hammonton Rotary programs and special projects including scholarships, youth sports sponsorships and support for our veterans. Buffet dinner was provided by Rocco’s Townhouse.

Winemakers William Duffy and Frank Raso were given special acknowledgement not only making their own wine but also for the growing their own grapes.

Amateur winemakers that grow their own grapes are becoming more and more rare. Most winemakers today either purchase grapes that they crush, or buy the juice and make wine from the juice.

Three winemakers who passed away since the 2019 event were remembered. Rest In Peace and thank for dedication to the craft of winemaking Ross Restuccio, Charles DiGerolamo, and Thelma Raso.

The event was co-chaired by Hammonton Rotary members Jerry Danoras and Don Deficcio.

The next wine event has been tentatively scheduled for April of 2022.

Click https://hammontonrotary.files.wordpress.com/2021/09/wine-entries-results.pdf

Fun Shoot Set for October 2

The Rotary Club of Hammonton will hold its inaugural Fun Shoot beginning 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the Pine Valley Trap Club, 166 Watsontown New Freedom Rd., in Berlin.

The event will host a maximum of 70 participants. Tickets are $60. Guests will receive a T-shirt, 50 12-gauge shells and lunch.

Registration is at 12:30 p.m. and the event will begin at 1 p.m. This is a 50 trap event.

Participants must provide their own shotgun.

For tickets and sponsorship information contact Franco Catania at 609-364-1270 or Phyllis Mazzeo at 609-377-4250 or any Hammonton Rotarian.

Tickets must be purchased in advance. There will be a surprise raffle the day of the event.

Looking Ahead to Growth

Now that the worst of the pandemic appears to be in the rearview mirror, and most of the world is working together again, the Hammonton Rotary Club is getting off the Zoom call meetings and back to the business of serving the community.

Just what the club will look like post-pandemic was the topic on Sept. 7, when Rotary District 7505 Governor Chuck Watson paid a visit for a discussion on how the club can set itself up for future success. 

Rotary District Governor Charles “Chuck” Watson

Watson said defining the path forward starts with answering some basic questions including:

What does the club do well?

What can it improve? 

What would the club look like if it started from scratch today? 

And, what can it eliminate? 

Hopefully the answers will come together to reach the ultimate goal of growing membership.

Before the pandemic, Rotary membership in the United States was falling at a rate of 2 percent per year. But since July, it has gained that ground back. 

Watson predicted that post-pandemic membership will keep growing as people look to reconnect with and serve their communities.

But growth does not come automatically. It takes time and research to learn how resources can be used to meet community needs and attract support. 


One way to do that is by conducting a community needs assessment. 
Whether through surveys or focus groups, interviews or community meetings, a needs assessment will identify areas where the club can best serve the Town of Hammonton, and identify how needs have changed since the pandemic. 

It can also pinpoint what kinds of projects and events will have the greatest impact and attract potential new members.

If the goal is more members who will stick around, a good strategy is offering them important assignments as soon as they start.

There is a tendency for new members to slip into the background and eventually quit if they are not given a meaningful task early on, Watson said. 

Having important work to do, such as a committee or project assignment, makes membership more attractive.

One essential way to bring new people in is to make it easy for them to connect with you. 

Watson pointed out that almost all would-be members will check out your website, and most will look up your Facebook page, so it’s important to keep adding content. For Facebook, a minimum of one new kpost per week is recommended.

It’s always exciting when potential new members reach out to the club. They can do that easily by contacting any Rotarian they know, attending Rotary events, or by viewing the club website or Facebook page. 

But there’s no need to wait around for an email, a text or a phone call if they are invited first. If every member were to invite one potential new member or a past member who hasn’t been involved for a while to a meeting or event, the membership could see considerable growth.

In either case, it’s best to show the person they are important by asking in person or by phone, never by text or email.


While “Service Above Self” is the Rotary motto, those who join have much to gain. Rotarians do well by doing good.

For those looking to grow and leverage their talents to make a difference in the world and their community, there is no better organization.

As a part of Rotary International, members are part of a 1.2 million member global network that supports fresh drinking water, hunger relief, and healthcare programs in impoverished communities around the world.

Closer to home, Hammonton Rotary members use their time and funds raised from events to run leadership programs for high school juniors, and a successful scholarship program for graduating seniors. It also supports, either by donation or direct participation, youth sports and local veterans’ organizations, highway cleanups, the community food pantry.

Past Hammonton Rotary Club projects have also supported first responders and people with special needs, social service agencies and literacy for ESL students.

To support its community programs and projects, the Hammonton Rotary Club is always working on fun and creative fundraisers. 

Popular events over the years have included Designer Bag Bingo, the Homemade Wine Event, and the Sauce vs. Gravy competition and a fall corn maze. 

On October 2, 2021, the club will mark the debut of its inaugural Fun Shoot event. Follow this website and the club Facebook page for more details.


Club events and programs require many hands and new ideas. The club succeeds only if everyone contributes. For those seeking the challenge of creative leadership, the club is a great place to step up and show what you can do.

Leadership training is available from

Rotary District 7505 at the regional level, and from Rotary International. Through a new partnership with Rotary International and Toastmasters, Rotarians around the country now have access to special leadership and public speaking programs created just for Rotary.

If you want to get a good idea of what Rotary is all about, consider this year’s Rotary themes. 

For Rotary International, the theme is “Serve to Change Lives,” a theme that comes to life through Rotary’s many projects around the world that serve poor and underprivileged people.

The district theme is Climb, Pause, Pull. 

Climb is about planning, organizing, and doing the work of serving the community. 

Pause is about taking the time to refresh, enjoy fellowship, and have some fun. 

Pull is about raising others up, whether it’s the community or your fellow Rotarians. 


One of the best reasons to join is because Rotary knows how to have fun. Being involved in projects brings out a sense of camaraderie and team spirit. 

Most Rotarians consider their fellow members to be good friends. And the club’s events are some of the most anticipated in town.

Rotarians having fun will be on full display May 13, 14, and 15, 2022 when District 7505 holds a “Boardwalk Empire” themed annual conference in Atlantic City.

Whether you live in Hammonton or spend time in the community for work or other reasons, joining the Hammonton Rotary Club is a great way to pay it forward while having a good time doing it.

Wine Event, Fun Shoot Announced as Catania Begins Second Year at Rotary Helm

The Hammonton Rotary Club celebrated the start of a new club year July 26 by installing officers for 2021-22, presenting awards, and looking forward to what lies ahead.

Franco Catania, left, is sworn in as president of the Hammonton Rotary Club by Chuck Watson, district governor for Rotary District 7505.

Members gathered at the Mt. Carmel Pavillion the annual changeover dinner. They took a moment to look back on the extraordinary year that was 2020-21, on the impact of the pandemic and taking pride in what they achieved.

Sadly, COVID forced cancelation of Rotary’s popular Homemade Wine Event two years in a row. The pandemic also prompted Rotary District 7505 to cancel its popular RYLA program, a leadership conference held each year at Stockton University for high school juniors, where numerous Hammonton students have attended over the years.

But just as noteworthy were the achievements in 2020-21, which included continuation of the Hammonton Rotary scholarship program, ongoing support of the Hammonton Youth Soccer Association’s concession stand / restrooms project, and the creation of a new and successful event, the Modified Murph Challenge.

For the second year in a row, Franco Catania was installed as club president. He pointed out that there is much to look forward to for the Hammonton Rotary Club in the year ahead, including 15th Annual Homemade Wine Event, set to return Sept. 25, and a new event, the club’s first ever Fun Shoot which is planned for October.

Officers were sworn in by District 7505 Gov. Chuck Watson, who gave a talk on the themes for the upcoming Rotary year. For Rotary International, “Serve to change lives” is the theme; for District 7505 it’s “Climb.”

Inductions included Catania as president for the second year in a row, Michael Brown as incoming president, Joe Brown as sergeant at arms, Deana Harold as secretary, Jerry Daunoras as club co-treasurer, and Phyllis Mazzeo as co-treasurer and foundation chairwoman.

Two members of the Hammonton High School Class of 2021 attended as recipients of a combined $4,000 in scholarships. 

Olivia Catania of Hammonton received the inaugural Hammonton Rotary Club Service Above Self Scholarship. Worth $500 a year over four years, it’s presented to the child of a Hammonton Rotary Club member who reflects the Rotary Club motto of “Service Above Self.”

In the fall she will enroll in the biology / pre-dental program at Goucher College where she will pursue her career goal of becoming a U.S. Air Force dentist.

Catania is the daughter of Franco and Deana Catania of Hammonton.

Also recognized was Matthew DeFiccio of Hammonton, recipient of the annual Hammonton Rotary Club Foundation Scholarship. The award, also worth $500 a year over four years, is presented in recognition of a student that demonstrates outstanding qualities in service, leadership, and academics.

Matthew, the son of Gerard and Nancy DeFiccio of Hammonton, will be attending Rowan University in the fall where he will be pursuing a nursing career.

The Hammonton Rotary Club continued its tradition of supporting our heroes by making a $500 donation to DAV Chapter 66 and VFW Post 1026.

Funds were available thanks to donations and sponsorships collected for the club’s Modified Murph Challenge fitness event held on Memorial Day at the Boyer Avenue Recreation Complex. 

On hand from DAV were Micky Doto, and Larry Adair, DAV chapter commander. Accepting for VFW were members Craig James, John Delucca, and John Griffee. 

From veterans to students, you too can show your support and appreciation for the people that make Hammonton a great place to live by patronizing Hammonton Rotary events. The club is always looking for new members. Check out the Hammonton Rotary Club’s Facebook page to learn more.

$4,000 in scholarships awarded by Hammonton Rotary

Two members of the Hammonton High School Class of 2021 were awarded a combined $4,000 in scholarships by the Hammonton Rotary Club during this year’s HHS Awards Night event June 10.

Olivia Catania of Hammonton received the inaugural Hammonton Rotary Club Service Above Self Scholarship. The award, worth $500 a year over four years, is presented to the child of a Hammonton Rotary Club member who reflects the Rotary Club motto of Service Above Self.

Catania volunteered for the HHS Interact Club for four years including a stint as vice president, she spent four years on the yearbook staff and in the Key Club. She also served on Student Council where she was co-historian.

She was a four-year referee for HYSA soccer and a four-year player with Hamilton Elite Academy soccer.

Olivia was a peer mediator, a Rotary Club volunteer, and a volunteer for the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society. She was on the high honor roll for four straight years, a member of the National Honors Society and worked as a waitress at Ninos for two years.

After high school she will enroll in the biology / pre-dental program at Goucher College where she will pursue her career goal of becoming a U.S. Air Force dentist.

Catania is the daughter of Franco and Deana Catania of Hammonton.

Also recognized was Matthew DeFiccio of Hammonton, recipient of the annual Hammonton Rotary Club Foundation Scholarship. The award, worth $500 a year over four years, is presented in recognition of a student that demonstrates outstanding qualities in service, leadership, and academics.

His school activities include National Honors Society, Renaissance Club, which recognizes students for good behavior and academic achievement, Safe Drivers Club, Interact Club, Student Council and junior varsity tennis.

He earned the President’s Award for Educational Excellence twice, and Certificates of Merit for Most Creative, Best First Impression, and for being a Team Player.

He works at the Sweetwater Marina and Riverdeck where he is the wait staff team leader. His other work experience includes Heritage Assisted Living, AGB Farms, and Pastore Orchards.

Matthew, the son of Gerard and Nancy DeFiccio of Hammonton, is already enrolled at Rowan College of South where is completing prerequisite courses in preparation for a nursing major.

Hammonton Rotary makes the most out of Spring 2021

Spring 2021 was an active time for the Hammonton Rotary Club as members got into the spirit of the Great Reopening by sponsoring and supporting local events and programs.


On June 10 Hammonton Rotary announced the winner of its annual Hammonton Rotary Club Foundation Scholarship. Matthew DeFiccio of Hammonton will receive $2,000 ($500 a year over four years) to continue his nursing studies at Rowan University where the soon to be Hammonton High School graduate has already begun prerequisite classes. 

Also on June 10, Olivia Catania was named the recipient of the inaugural Hammonton Rotary Club Foundation Service Above Self Scholarship. The award is presented to the child of an active Rotarian who exemplifies the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” It is a $2,000 award: $500 each year for a maximum of four years.


On June 6, the Hammonton Rotary Club went live with its much anticipated Rotary Wheel of Giving fundraising project. Helping your community can have special rewards. Go to the Hammonton Rotary Club Facebook page and ask to join the Rotary Wheel of Giving private group to find out how.


CrossFit enthusiasts across South Jersey took part in the club’s first ever Modified Murph Challenge on Memorial Day. Held at the Boyer Avenue recreation complex, the fitness event raised $1,000 for local veterans groups thanks to generous donations from participants and sponsors.


Central Avenue in Hammonton got a little greener and cleaner April 12 through the efforts of the Hammonton Rotary Club, in partnership with the ACUA’s Adopt a Road Program. In recognition of Hammonton Rotary’s cleanup participation over the past year, ACUA made a $200 donation, which will go toward scholarships, food for the needy, and other causes.


The Hammonton Rotary took part in the April 2 Easter Bunny Drive Thru Event, sponsored by the Police Department and the Recreation Department at the Boyer Avenue athletic fields. In spite of COVID restrictions, Hammonton was determined to make Easter a fun time for the kids by providing goodie bags to participating families.


Members of the Hammonton Rotary Club recently visited the Hammonton Family Success Center to present a $200 donation. The money will buy 3-D garden puzzles, used for the center’s family bonding programs and for improving motor skills and coordination in the children.



It is with great sadness that the Hammonton Rotary Club learned of the May 16 passing of longtime member and past President Peter Ranere.  Pete, a Navy veteran and former Hammonton mayor, will be remembered as a good neighbor and an outstanding Rotarian who embodied the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.”
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