All along Lambert Avenue, in Flagler Beach, 58 American flags can be seen waving in the wind. It's the result of the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Rotary stands for uniting people for the common good,” began Roseanna Stocker, president of the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach. “People join Rotary because they want to have a positive impact within the community, and eventually the world.
“One thing that unites us as Americans is our patriotism, which is one of the reasons I like this project. In these turbulent times, we can still find common ground with our neighbors, through our shared patriotism.
“During this global pandemic our normal fundraisers are put on hold. … We need to be very creative in how we raise funds for the community. So we plan to continue this fundraiser throughout the year. This pandemic has created even more need within our local communities.”
The Rotary members install and maintain each flag raised throughout the year.
Currently the flags are raised in honor of Juneteenth, and will remain up for Memorial and Independence Day.
“Our goal now is to keep the flags raised for all seven of the major holidays,” said Tim O’Donnell, member of the Rotary Club of Flagler Beach.
The club, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Flagler County and the Rotary Club of Palm Coast, has already raised $9,000, matched by a Rotarian grant, which equates to 50,000 pounds of food to feed those in need within Flagler County.
The funds directly support the Second Harvest Food Bank and the Grace Community Food Pantry, led by Pastor Charles Silano.
Other projects being supported by the Rotarian club include providing free books to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, providing holiday gifts to 1,300 children each year in Flagler County, scholarships for high school graduates and adult education students, and the Flagler Beach Junior Lifeguard program.
“One of our more recent projects was in March of this year,” Stocker said. “We raised funds for the Flagler County Health Department to provide Flagler County families in need with over 100 cribs to prevent SIDS.”
Not only are the flags actively raising the funds needed to directly help local families in need, but they are also a means to bring neighbors together.
O'Donnell said that when he was installing one flag, two neighbors met each other for the first time.
“These neighbors had lived next to each other for years, and never met until that moment," O'Donnell said. "This flag raising gives an opportunity for people to come together.”
“I read an article about the fundraiser, took some pictures of it and handed it out to all my neighbors,” said Linda Fifield, who posed proudly in her front yard, next to her American flag. “Soon the flags could be seen all the way up the street. ... I am really happy about the whole thing.”