In no particular order, the following is a compilation of things we do and groups we support routinely with a brief summary of each.
Salvation Army Bell RInging
The Salvation Army provides temporary shelter for displaced individuals and families. Our way of supporting them in their efforts is to stand in at the donation kettles each year ringing the bells. As many volunteer works go, that seems simple enough but there is a lot of coordination and personal effort that goes into providing coverage for the kettles. It’s usually cold weather and there is little opportunity to sit when this major fundraising event comes around but you will always get an enthusiastic “Thank you” and “Merry Christmas” as you pass our members at collection locations.
Red Cross Blood Drives
Several times each year our Kiwanis members team up with the American Red Cross to not only provide support staff for blood collection but to also donate their own blood for this vital effort.
Kids Christmas Party
Each year just before Christmas our club puts together a shopping event that allows kids from the area to go with guardians to buy gifts for their families. Those gifts are then wrapped by Kiwanis members and delivered to the family. Some time after that the kids are treated to a wonderful lunch meal, singing, decorations, and gifts of their own all presided over by the jolly ole elf himself.
Twice yearly we go out to our VDOT Adopt-A-Highway road segment and clean up. As with most Kiwanis work events this one is made as fun as possible through good natured fun and coordination. We cover a two mile portion of road and use safety gear, vehicle support, and rubber gloves to quietly serve our community.
Our major fundraising event comes up in the Spring and Fall of each year. We set up in the War Memorial Building in Jim Barnett Park to cook fresh pancakes and sausage along with coffee, juice, milk, and all you need to sit and enjoy them. It’s a time of good food, fun, and meeting with friends and neighbors. The money raised at these two events goes back out to the community in the form of grants to service organizations, scholarships, support for kids in need.
For each Pancake Day we partner with one membership-selected local organization designated as the Major Beneficiary. That group commits to providing help with all the preparation and serving and then is rewarded with 15% of the net proceeds when it’s all over. Last Fall (2022) we were able to award Katie’s Comfort House over $4,000.
Bright Futures is a program that provides food for kids to take home with them over weekends. Many area kids rely on school lunches through the week but have limited resources at home. Several groups work with Bright Futures to ensure that donated food is collected and distributed for each weekend and we in the Winchester Kiwanis Club take our turn once each month. An average of 500 bags are packed each week.
These are school activities sponsored by Kiwanis that provide children with a chance to enjoy working with others while providing some service to the community.