The Park Cities Fourth of July Parade may not look like the usual Rotary project. Still, its impact extends across North Texas, providing more than a million meals since the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB) became the beneficiary in 2016.
Fighting hunger is a top priority of the Rotary Club of Park Cities, and the NTFB is the critical partner in that effort. Parade partners and individuals donate thousands of dollars annually to the cause, often timing gifts to tap matching grants. The 2022 haul topped $35,500, and at three meals per $1, the food bank makes that money go a long way.
The parade and an accompanying picnic bring the communities together in a red, white, a blue celebration that moves from Highland Park Town Hall to Goar Park in University Park and involves participants and paradegoers of all ages. The event also celebrates the Rotary’s “Service Above Self” ideal, annually recognizing as grand marshal (or grand marshals) members of the community whose service and example have benefited many.
This year, the Park Cities club honored as its grand marshal, Donna Pierce, a beloved teacher and planetarium director who only officially retired a year ago after 41 years with Highland Park ISD. “I’ve always thought of my life as a tapestry and wanted bright colors to be used, but never thought colors so bright from being a grand marshal were available,” the 88-year-old said, recalling, “the out-of-the-world experience of having crowds yelling my name, expressing their love and admiration, even cheers for, ‘Astronomy rules!’”