The Rotary Club of Carlsbad on February 2, 2017, presented its third annual PeaceMaker Award to the Brother Benno Foundation in Oceanside.
Brother Benno’s is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has been committed to serving the poor and homeless in North County since 1983. The organization started as a soup kitchen, but has expanded its services tremendously over the years. According to the organization, “The goals of the Brother Benno Foundation are to see that, within the limits of our resources, no one in our area goes hungry, no one goes without shelter or clothing, and most importantly, no one goes without someone to care for him or her. We also strive to help our guests attain self-sufficiency. From the beginning, our founders decided to refer to the people they serve as guests instead of clients. Their choice of the word ‘guest’ has been the underpinning of our philosophy, which is one of loving service, the belief that everyone has value, and no one is a lost cause.
Dennis Pinnick (board member) and Richard Giroux (coordinator) of Brother Benno’s accepted the award. Brother Benno’s was one of three finalists, selected from a wider field of nominees, who were all honored in a ceremony at the Hilton Garden Inn in Carlsbad.
“Working for peace is the hallmark of Rotary’s focus around the world and the most important service we provide through various avenues,” said Renuka Sethi, Peace Chair of the Rotary Club of Carlsbad and a member of District 5340 Pathways to Peace Committee. “The purpose of the Peacemaker Award is to recognize and commend individuals and organizations for their work in promoting peace and to motivate and encourage others to do the same. Over 100 years ago, Rotary founder Paul Harris said, ‘The way to war is a well-paved highway; the way to peace is still a wilderness.” Unfortunately, that statement still holds true, to some extent, but we have made great strides – and we continue working.”
Michael Bardin, chairman of the District Pathways to Peace Committee, said, “Peace is in Rotary’s DNA” and noted that “everything Rotary does advances peace.” Rotary District 5340, representing more the nearly 70 Rotary Clubs in San Diego and Imperial counties, launched the Pathways to Peace initiative in 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, to promote world understanding and peace.
“It came about, through some strategic planning, that we realized everything Rotary does is a pathway to peace, and so we created what we’ve called Pathways to Peace to endorse and encourage all Rotarians to become involved in this process. It becomes sort of a committee of the whole – to participate in the district committee, to participate in club programs, and to make peace a part of the programming all the way through.”
The inaugural Peacemaker Award winner, in 2015, was Kids for Peace, a Carlsbad-based organization for students. In accepting the award Jill McManigal, co-founder and executive director, said the group’s mission is to “cultivate every child’s innate ability to foster peace through cross-cultural experiences and hands-on arts, service and environmental projects.”
The 2016 winner was the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank, the largest hunger relief organization in San Diego County, serving, on average, 400,000 people per month.
Brother Benno’s was one of three finalists for the 2017 Peacemaker Award. The two other finalists this year were:
- Mercy Care Uganda, Medical Ministry – Doreen Tate, chief nurse and co-founder.
- Beth Ann McCarthy, program founder of Self-Love – an organization designed to teach children to value themselves.
The Rotary Club of Carlsbad was chartered in 1939 and is part of Rotary International, a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. There are more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. The Rotary Club of Carlsbad meets each Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at The Hilton Garden Inn.