ROXBURY, NJ – Even with COVID-19 presenting some big challenges, the Roxbury Rotary Club’s annual pre-Thanksgiving Fruit and Pie Sale was unexpectedly successful, according to club members.

Run by Rotarian Gary Ribe, and under the direction of club president Bill Diamond, the Nov. 21 event saw the club distribute 383 pies and 664 cases of fruit. Both numbers are records for the annual fundraiser, according to the organization.

“This year’s event was incredible,” said Rotarian Steve Alford. “President Bill Diamond did a great job leading the troops, our two Interact Club presidents, Quunh My Le and Gabriel Mutone, led the Interact students and Gary Ribe once again poured his heart and soul into making this a great event.”

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The 2020 fruit and pie sale was the club’s 35th.

“Even in this COVID environment, the club was dedicated to try to make it our most successful Fruit and Pie sale ever,” Alford said.

“I even saw one person pull up - who I know has been out of work for four months - and drop off a turkey,” Alford said. “And this was not just a Roxbury Community event; we had people from all over the country buying fruit and pies and donating them to our Social Services.”

Between its members efforts and the work of the Interact Club, the Rotarians ended up with 53 pies and 20 cases of fruit for Social Services (purchased by people for donation), said the club. The fruit and pie sale raised about $12,000 for the Rotary Club’s coffers, money that will be used for philanthropic efforts.

He praised the members of the Interact Club - the organization’s arm in Roxbury High School - whose members assisted during the sale. While helping hand out fruit and pies, the young volunteers collected turkeys, and money for turkeys and gift cards, for Roxbury Social Services.

Alford said Interact members accepted eight turkeys and $462 in donations for Social Services.

“Several times during the day I found myself caught up in how giving people are and what they are willing to do to help others,” Alford said. “This is a really difficult time for service organizations to raise money, and we keep finding ways to do so only because people are so generous.”

The club also thanked Roxbury PBA 311 and Mount Arlington FOP 78 for their donations to the pie sale.

The club’s next event will be a 4-comedian virtual comedy show at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30.

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