In the friendly atmosphere of a typical West Bay Rotary meeting, the donation bucket fills up with modest contributions for local charities and nonprofits, as members are cajoled to contribute.

Now, that bucket is brimming, at a time when meetings have gone remote.

West Bay Rotary has opened its call for contributions to the wider community, and fills what it now calls "buckets in cyberspace," in order to adjust to the new-normal of remote meetings, and increased community need during the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, Fink suggested the club use the donation button on its website for buckets in cyberspace.

A recent effort to collect donations for the Camden Area Christian Food Pantry resulted in a check for $2,074, presented by West Bay Rotary's Lucky the Duck Nov 20.

"We don't usually raise $2,000 from buckets on the table. We get a few hundred," said Leamon Scott, who heads up sponsorships for West Bay Rotary.

A $500 donation jump-started the effort to support the food pantry. About $1,200 of the total came from the community, and the remainder from West Bay Rotary members, according to Deborah Fink, who heads up public relations for the group. Fundraising for the food pantry spanned Sept. 15 through Nov. 15.

"I was pretty excited it was over $2,000," Fink said, who is also treasurer for the group's charitable foundation.

The increase in the donations reflect what community and West Bay members know, she said. "This winter's going to be hard."

On Nov. 20, Debra Milliken, Camden Area Christian Food Pantry Board vice president  said, "We have always been fortunate to have a very generous community, but since the pandemic, people have been extremely generous and supportive, whether it be local donations or individuals from far and wide. This most generous donation from the West Bay Rotary is very gratefully accepted."

Through Jan. 15, donations collected will benefit the Shields Mission Project, a dedicated fund of the First Congregational Church of Camden for individuals and families in crisis, who are residents of Knox County and Lincolnville and do not qualify for assistance from social services and governmental agencies.

The donation button on the West Bay Rotary website provides information and an opportunity to fill up the bucket in cyberspace, and can be found  at

Donations may also be mailed to Rotary Club of West Bay Charitable Foundation, PO Box 1033, Camden, ME  04843. Fink asks that those who would like the donation to benefit the Shields Mission Project note that on the check.