Helen Keller’s famous quote “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” is inspiring local Rotary Clubs to practice “Service above Self”, by partnering with other clubs to provide service to El Camino Homeless Organization’s new facility in Paso Robles. 
Rotary Clubs have recognized the increasing need of hunger and homelessness in North County. This is heavily influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn. As a result, many of these residents have lost housing, which resulted in homelessness. ECHO is a local organization supporting unsheltered families and residents with their Atascadero and Paso Robles locations.
The mission of ECHO is to empower people in San Luis Obispo county to make positive change by providing food, shelter, and supportive services. Many of the resources that the population ECHO serves are things that people in the community take for granted. The local Rotary clubs of Cayucos, Atascadero, Paso Robles, and North County Rotaract, have stepped up to meet many of these needs.
Rotary is an international organization of local clubs. Rotary International is comprised of over a million members and is credited with supporting International Polio Prevention efforts, and other health projects worldwide.  Internationally Rotarians are also working on COVID prevention, Peace initiatives, providing clean drinking water, and supporting ecological projects in rural and urban areas. Local Rotary clubs provide members with community speakers, and provide networking for local business and community leaders, who work together to provide scholarships and support other local needs.
Paso Robles Rotary Club members, Cynthia Anthony and Joe Irick, have communicated directly with ECHO to determine what their current needs are, as their new facility expands programs and services. Along with the Rotary clubs of Atascadero, Cayucos, Paso Robles Sunrise, and North County Rotaract, members have worked together to provide items needed, assembled household item bags, and toiletries.
Atascadero Rotary has had a longstanding relationship with ECHO. For many years, the Atascadero Rotary has supported ECHO’s flagships events: Empty Bowls and Long Walk Home. Funds raised at these events support ECHO programs that provide life-changing services.
Paso Robles Sunrise Rotary has donated small size toiletries and dental hygiene products, which are distributed in ECHO’s new shower program in Paso Robles.
North County Rotaract is a newly formed Rotary group of young professionals, who network and collaborate on community service projects. Their president, Evan Langstaff, reports their contribution to ECHO has been gas cards. Residents often have limited resources, which can prevent them from getting to job interviews, healthcare appointments, or taking their children to school. Missing any of these can result in increased health or financial emergencies, or decrease of access to education. Gas cards provide ECHO a way to help their clients as they work hard on their road back into housing.
Cayucos Rotary has contributed gift cards for local restaurants and grocery stores. While ECHO provides an evening meal, during this capacity-building time, food gift cards provide their clients access to nutrition they wouldn’t have otherwise.
One of the most critical needs Rotary has met has been with the “Drop Your Drawers” project. Paso Robles Rotary meets via Zoom in our socially distanced world. Using Zoom and other media outlets, they have solicited new underwear of all sizes and shapes, to provide to ECHO clients. Members of Paso Rotary, “Drop their Drawers” at local Rotarians businesses, for “hands free delivery” to ECHO clients. Rotarians participating in this include Rick Goree of State Farm Insurance, Jennifer Idler, of Idlers Home Paso Robles, and the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce.  Over 800 pairs of underwear, of all sizes, have been donated.
In addition to this project Paso Robles Rotary volunteers have provided a food warming station for the new meal program and ECHO Paso Robles. ECHO offers a nightly dinner at their new location provided by volunteers from the community. Paso Robles Rotary also provided a sanitary utensil cleaning station to service this program, shelves, clothing racks, and a storage shed.
Rotarians in all of the involved clubs are excited and happy to be meeting some of the needs of ECHO and their clients. The Cayucos, Atascadero, and Paso Robles Sunrise Clubs plan on continuing their avenues of service to the organization. Paso Robles Rotary and North County Rotaract are planning on providing storage space, meals, and other services.
Rotary welcomes community members to find out  more information or to get involved in Rotary’s  “Service above Self”. Please go to the  Paso Robles Rotary Facebook page at facebook.com/pasoroblesrotaryclub , or contact Community Service Chair Cynthia Anthony at (805) 610-0786.