When the scheduled April 18 Kiwanis food drive had to be canceled in order to reduce exposure for Kiwanis members to COVID-19, members recognized the damage caused to local food banks. According to food drive chairman, Jim Repnik, a typical Kiwanis food drive brings in approximately $5,000 in food for the food banks. That contribution would be missing by cancelling the Spring Food Drive. At a time when food banks are experiencing an increase in demand, Kiwanis couldn’t let them down. That is when the 31 Kingston Kiwanis members dug deep into their pockets to personally raise the money that was missing as a result of the canceled food drive.
Treasurer Dahlia Malin reported that members donated $5,000 to the food banks in April. “This is what Kiwanis is about,” explained President Jan Erickson. “Our mission is to serve those in our community who are in greatest need. Helping the food banks with their immediate emergency was a way we could contribute even though we couldn’t stand out on the grocery store sidewalks.” It is expected that the club will be examining its budget closely in the coming months to see what other assistance it can provide.
One project it has already supported is Food4Kids. With school out for the year, all of the students who depended on the school USDA food program are in need. Thankfully, the North Kitsap School District has been able to provide food pick-up for some families and other community restaurants and private citizens have contributed free food for children.
Food4Kids provided 90 Greater Kingston area children with a week’s worth of breakfasts and lunches. Kingston Kiwanis provided $3,500 towards that effort as well as volunteer packers and food delivery. According to Food4Kids chair Penny Geisbush, it takes approximately that amount to feed 100 children for a week.
As summer approaches, the Food4Kids program will be a vital life line for children. Because schools are not in session and there will be no summer school program, Food4Kids is hoping to provide eleven weeks of food for 100 children. At $5.00 per day per child, the program will need over $38,500 to meet summer needs. Unfortunately, there is not currently that much in the Kingston Cares account. So, like the Kingston Kiwanis, it is hoped that the community will dig into its pockets to help support the Food4Kids Program. Persons wishing to support this effort may contribute to Kingston Cares, P.O. Box 870,, Kingston, WA 98346.
In other news, it does look like the annual Kiwanis Blueberry Sales may go on, with special attention to safe handling of the berries, online or snail mail ordering and socially distanced delivery in mid- to late July. Check out the Kingston Kiwanis website for details at greaterkingstonkiwanis.weebly.com.
This is a difficult time for people all over the world. Staying safe and keeping our loved ones safe is understandably the top priority. But because Kingston is a special place filled with people who care about the community, the coronavirus pandemic affords us the opportunity to put the importance of children and families into perspective. The needs of the whole are seen to out-weigh the needs to acquire wealth and materials. We can be proud of the work of the Kingston Kiwanis and all the businesses and individuals in Kingston who are making a difference in these difficult times. Thank you to all and keep practicing those safe behaviors.