Some Assembly Required

Published 9:58 am Thursday, March 5, 2009

AHOSKIE – Today’s the day!

Following a tradition that is in excess of a half-century, members of the Ahoskie Rotary Club will gather today (Thursday, March 5) in their annual labor of love as they host their Pancake and Sausage Day.

The event, as usual, will be held at the Ahoskie National Guard Armory.

Tickets to the all-you-can-eat event are $7 at the door. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and supper from 5-7:30 p.m.

Regular patrons may notice a $1 increase in the price of the tickets. That is not due to a hike in product cost, but rather a commitment made by the Ahoskie Rotary Club to aid in a worldwide effort to eradicate polio.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $255 million to Rotary International in the global effort to eradicate polio, bringing the total committed by Rotary and the Gates Foundation to $555 million. According to local officials with the Ahoskie Rotary Club, each Rotary Club across the globe is asked to raise $3,000 in matching funds over a three-year period. The Ahoskie Rotary Club immediately responded to that request as they will begin seeking donations, beginning with their annual Pancake and Sausage Day.

In response to the new $255 million Gates Foundation grant, Rotary will raise $100 million in matching funds. In November 2007, RI received a $100 million Gates Foundation grant, which Rotary committed to match by raising $100 million. The two Gates Foundation challenge grants now total $355 million. Rotary International’s matching effort in response is called Rotary’s $200 Million Challenge, which must be completed by June 30, 2012.

Polio eradication has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985, with more than $1.2 billion contributed to the effort. Gates praised Rotary for providing the volunteers, advocates, and donors who have helped bring about a 99 percent decline in the number of polio cases.