The North Little Rock Rotary Club plans to expand its outreach to the community this year, according to President Paul Minton. The local Rotary members already have been serving North Little Rock for over 50 years.

In order to carry out these plans the club is seeking to substantially expand its membership.

Invitations are being distributed for a membership drive reception that was held on April 25, according to Minton.

The Rotary Club is an international organization of business and professional men and women in 158 countries. International membership is over 1.2 million and there are over 50 clubs in Arkansas cities and towns alone, he said.

"The North Little Rock Rotary Club meets for one hour at noon each Thursday for a meal, fellowship and to hear diverse and interesting speakers," he said. "Money raised from annual fundraisers and member dues is used to support local projects, primarily to benefit children."

Each year, college scholarships are awarded to deserving North Little Rock High School seniors for college assistance.

"For 12 years, the North Little Rock Club has funded the "I Like Me’ reading program that provides personalized hard cover books to each of about kindergarten students in the North Little Rock School District. Minton said. "Rotarians to each elementary school to read the books to the children."

Some groups that benefit from Rotary activities and funding are the Salvation Army, Hearts and Hooves and many more, according to Minton.

Minton said he is enthusiastic about a new fund-raising opportunity for the club.

"We will have an outdoor sports and recreation show at the North Little Rock Riverfront Park each fall in September," he said. "Recreational vehicles, boats and outdoor sports equipment will be displayed by dealers along with participation by many other local vendors."

Minton added, "I believe that with additional members and these new funds that we can do more for the community and have fun too."

Rotary International, along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has raised over $1 billion for a long running program to eliminate polio in all but three countries in the world.

On a smaller scale, in Arkansas, Rotarians are actively involved in water projects in Central Arkansas to benefit impoverished villages.

Those who attended the April 22 reception had the opportunity to meet local Rotarians and learn much more about Rotary while they enjoyed light refreshments.

"Mike Curren asks that anyone who wouldn’t attend the reception call him for information and to set up a date to come for a free Rotary lunch and program at their convenience," said Minton.