As May slips into June, many traditional celebratory occasions occur…graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day (the latter two of which are celebrated on the same calendar day in all of the countries in which our members live). For many of us, the celebration looked or will look different this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, we have been finding memorable ways to honor our mothers, fathers, and graduate
In the same way, many of our Kiwanis clubs are managing to stay in touch, conduct business, serve, and gain new members throughout the pandemic. I continue to be inspired by the leadership, creativity, and high-minded service of Kiwanians.
Consider, for example, the Oceanside, New York Kiwanis Club that connected restaurants that were losing money or closing with the need for meals for first responders. They invited the community to donate through social media, started with $27,000 in donations, and split the order among the restaurants. Now they schedule drop offs at different locations for 3 meals a day. It has become a community-wide project.
The same is true for the one-year-old Greater Riverton Area, IL, Kiwanis Club. Soon after organizing, they started a blessing box that their inherited Key Club stocked as needed. It morphed into a food source for those in the community who became unemployed. The club now receives donations of $2500-$3000 a week, in addition to donations of food, to stock the box up to 11 times daily and to supply a drive-through food pantry at the business of one of the club members.
Likewise, the Greater Portmore Kiwanis Club on the southern coast of Jamaica developed a #WECARE plan. They have provided hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies for first responders, food for elderly residents and those who are quarantined, and barrels of water for hand-washing stations at hospitals and police stations.
Then there is the Orillia Kiwanis Club in Ontario, Canada, sponsor of a 61-year-old music festival and competition for grants, scholarships, and trophies. When the live performance was cancelled, the club quickly adapted to virtual performances with remote judging to give students access to college opportunities and professional exposure.
Now more than ever, the world needs Kiwanis. Now more than ever, Kiwanis needs the Eye of the Tiger eKiwanis Club. Think of what the members of this club do on a daily basis, from giving away over 35,000 books to underserved children to opening a new club entirely through virtual interactions. Thank you for your leadership.
We need your leadership both now and after we come out into a “new normal.” We need your leadership to continue gaining new members and new clubs. We need your leadership in engaging and retaining those members and clubs. We need your leadership at every level of the organization to keep Kiwanis healthy.