The Rotary Club of Fonthill was chartered in 1991, and is part of an international district that includes 66 clubs in Western New York and Southern Ontario. In its early years, the club helped build the Steve Bauer Trail, and assisted with the construction of the Fonthill Bandshell and funded its sound system. More recently, local Rotarians mounted campaigns to benefit Pelham Cares, Wellspring Niagara, the Meridian Community Centre, and the Fonthill Arches. Rotarians have organized and participated in numerous festivals and special events in Pelham, as well as donating more than $300,000 to community and international projects. An environmental cleanup of the Great Lakes Watershed is yet another recent project.
Each month Rotary honours a current member. For May, it’s Paul Snack.
A Rotary Club of Fonthill member since November of 2015, the 69-year-old Fenwick resident served as club president in 2017-18. He has chaired the organization’s fundraising committee and co-chaired the Family Funfest in 2022. This year he is the chair of a new event, Family FarmFest 2023, being held at White Meadows Farms on June 17. Snack was selected as a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow in both 2018 and 2023, and was also on the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games Organizing Committee for the torch relay event.
“I moved to Pelham from Toronto eight years ago this summer,” said Snack. “I had a friend in Rotary in Toronto, who said if you ever move to a new town, join Rotary, as a way to get connected locally. So I did.”
Snack and his wife, Lori (who is from Welland originally), moved to Niagara with the idea of retirement.
“I owned a printing and graphic design company in Toronto, and had a ten-year strategy to downsize, and as staff moved on, we didn't rehire and we became basically in the brokerage business,” he said. “So I hired my previous artists as needed, and then brokered the printing part of it. We figured that we could move down here and run our company remotely. It worked. I also got into some marketing consulting, which has been fun.”
Still another area Snack has delved into and enjoys is selling houses, working part-time for Lucchetta Homes.
“I’ve developed skills over the years which are transferable to sales and marketing, and that sort of thing. It's all about establishing and maintaining relationships,” he said.
Snack has two grown children, plus a 15-year-old son, Zac, at home, who attends Welland Centennial for French Immersion.
“Rotary has given my family an opportunity to get involved in community service,” said Snack. “Zac’s been quite involved, and in fact he was honoured by Rotary as a Paul Harris Fellow in 2023 for his volunteer work.”
The Rotary Club of Fonthill has than 30 members, with numbers of men and women quite equally balanced, he said.
“We have a good cross-section of our community, with regard to occupations,” said Snack. “They're really there to make a difference. It's not just sitting around talking and having coffee. We get out into the community.”
Rotary has a strong focus on youth, exemplified by an active student exchange program, said Snack.
“I think this year our student is headed to Belgium, and a young lady from Japan will be coming our way from August 2023 until July 2024. She’ll attend school at E.L. Crossley, work on her English skills, and get involved in various aspects of the Pelham community.”
Snack said that any local families interested in hosting the Japanese girl for a three-month term during her stay in Canada should contact him.
Snack was eager to discuss Farmfest 2023, which evolved out of Rotary’s Family Funfest event.
“The idea is to raise money for local charities,” he said. “Funfest was all about having a forum where not-for-profits could come and set up booths and show their wares, and we complemented that with all kinds of interesting fun activities for kids involving games, bouncy castles, unicorns, that sort of thing. With the change in venue to White Meadows Farms this year, we have taken on more of a farming and agricultural focus, with maybe a bit more emphasis on education. But there will still be lots of games and fun things to do.”
RBC, one of lead sponsors of Farmfest, is bringing an Olympic-themed festival truck to the event, which will offer some interactive activities, said Snack. A truck driving simulator will also be available.
“We have various agricultural associations coming, and will have lots of animals — and yes, the unicorns the kids love,” said Snack. “There will be square dancing, musicians, and plenty of entertainment for families, plus a barbecue.”
Snack expects that close to 1500 people will attend Farmfest, and he has hopes that Rotary will net $10,000 from the event.
Tickets are $50 for a family of four. The event will run June 17 from 10 AM until 3 PM at White Meadows Farms, located at 2519 Effingham Street. Tickets are on sale now at www.tinyurl.com/y72xduex. Sponsorship opportunities are still available by contacting [email protected].
Between his Rotary responsibilities and his part-time employment commitments, there is still time for family and recreation, insisted Snack.
“I used to play hockey, but my hips don't allow me to do that anymore, so play a little bit of golf,” he said. “We have a one-acre piece of property in Fenwick, so there are always plenty of chores to do. So that keeps me out of trouble.”