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On the BeatOn the Beat - New Stories from around Milpitas (July 11, 2018)

On the Beat – New Stories from around Milpitas (July 11, 2018)

Meet New Milpitas Rotary President Larry Ciardella


Larry Ciardella’s first meeting as new president of Milpitas’ Rotary Club happened on Monday, July 9.

He’s looking forward to taking on the new role, previously held by Councilmember Bob Nuñez, and doing many fun things in the year ahead.

Ciardella, who has been a part of Rotary for the past 5 or 6 years, loves the camaraderie involved. At the very first meeting he was invited to, he walked into the room and discovered he already knew three quarters of the people there. He figured at that point that he had to join, and he’s glad that he decided to.

“I’m excited for the year ahead,” said Ciardella, who earlier in the year took on the role of new Assistant Chief at the Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department. “We have so much fun here. I’m looking forward to making this coming year even more fun.”  

The Milpitas Rotary Club has been in action since 1954.

Denny Weisgerber, 88, is the club’s longest-serving member. He joined Milpitas Rotary in 1962, and still recalls meetings that took place many years ago at the historic restaurant, Kozy Kitchen, which was demolished nearly two decades ago. At the time, only men were present, since women weren’t allowed.

“Back then, it was all businessmen from the City of Milpitas,” said Weisgerber. “We had the manager from the Ford plant, business owners, the city manager, the city engineer, and city planning director. And, of course, myself; I was the Mayor at the time.”

In 1988, an international change in Rotary policy opened up the opportunity for women. “We lost a few members because of that. But those of us who were open-minded accepted the women…They came in strong and have since been a great asset in my estimation,” said Weisgerber.

Weisgerber has served two terms as president, from 1968-1969 and 1988-1989. He has also served as district governor of Rotary, from 1999-2000.

The Milpitas Rotary Club meets every Monday, except for holidays or during some special events.   

Next week, on Monday, July 16, at 5:30pm, Milpitas Rotary will be having a Bocce Ball BBQ. It will be at Tom Evatt Park (near the corner of South Abel Street and Machado Avenue) on Main Street, near Zahir’s Restaurant. Contact Robin at robinhays1@gmail.com for more info and to RSVP.  



Breakfast with the Senator

Senator Bob Wieckowski came out to speak about the state budget and legislation at the Milpitas Chamber of Commerce’s business breakfast at the Senior Center on Tuesday, July 10. Many local business owners were in attendance.


Low-income families receive free groceries every month in Milpitas


Once a month, Pastor Robert Mize (from Cathedral of Faith in Milpitas) organizes a grocery giveaway for low-income families with children. Working in coordination with Second Harvest Food Bank, the Pastor and his team of a couple dozen volunteers meet in the early morning, to receive the food, package it, and prepare it for the families.

The program has been running strong for the past several years.

“This is one of my favorite days every month. Seeing their baskets overflowing with food…it’s such a joy,” said Pastor Mize. He estimates that the value of groceries that each family receives is about $200 or more. This can go a long way toward giving them the extra help they need to make ends meet financially.

Joannie MacDonald, the Pastor’s mother, is one of the volunteers who comes out to help each month. At the end of every volunteer shift, she walks away exhausted, but deeply fulfilled. “These families we’re giving to are low-income families. They’re not poverty-stricken, but they’re having a hard time making it out here in Silicon Valley. They can pay their rent, but that’s all they have in many cases,” said MacDonald.  

Maricela Rivera has been volunteering for the past several years. She’s a resident of Fremont, but the special, vibrant community at Cathedral of Faith makes it worth her while to drive out to Milpitas each week, which she’s done now for the past seven years. When this new program was announced, she knew she had to be a part of it.

“A lot of the people who come out to receive food… they’re stay-at-home moms,” said Rivera. “And they said, without us, they wouldn’t have any food. To them, this program, it’s a blessing.”

The group used to set up the grocery giveaway in the Milpitas Library parking lot, but have recently moved to the Sal Cracolice Building near Montague Expressway.

Between 150-180 families are given free groceries every month.




Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro is the winner of a 2022 Golden Quill Award for her Education journalism. She works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works mostly with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of “Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self” and “Magic Within: Womb-Centered Wisdom to Realize the Power of Your Sacred Feminine Self.” Her YouTube channel features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief.


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