Grants help clubs deliver hope during crisis

Jennifer Morlan | May 14, 2020
Food is delivered to families

Poverty is expected to rise worldwide in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting even more strain on organizations that serve children and families in need. But Kiwanians are helping. 
The Kiwanis Club of Kendall-South Dade, Florida, is using a grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund to help a food pantry and relief organization that has seen a 500% increase in requests for aid since the pandemic began. 

“The timing is just phenomenal,” said Vanessa Tinsley, Bridge to Hope’s founder and executive director.  

Diana Morrell, secretary of the Kendall-South Dade club, said members were drawn to Bridge to Hope because its mission mirrors Kiwanis International’s: “They are all about serving their community.” 

You can help: Make a gift to the Kiwanis Children’s Fund to help Kiwanians meet the urgent needs of children around the world — especially during this time of crisis. 

The money will help 51 families who were referred to Bridge to Hope by school administrators, Tinsley said. Many of the families don’t have cars so Bridge to Hope is delivering groceries, school supplies, hand sanitizer and masks. The grant will allow the program to continue through the summer. 

“Kids are going to be supported all summer because of the Kiwanis club,” Tinsley said. 

The club hopes the grant will lead to a hands-on relationship with Bridge to Hope when social distancing eases. With about 40 members, the club is looking forward to helping box and deliver supplies and eventually mentor the students. 

“We want to help deliver hope during a crisis,” Morrell said, adding the club is also delivering pizzas to local hospital worker and police and fire stations. 

The Kiwanis Club of Lima, Ohio, is using its grant to help Family Promise Lima-Allen County, an organization that works to keep families together during periods of homelessness. Part of the National Interfaith Hospitality Network, Family Promise works with local churches to provide families with safe housing, food, basic needs, job training and more. 

Candace Newland, development chair of the Lima club, said the club has been working with Family Promise for about six years. Because the club’s annual barbecue fundraiser is in jeopardy, members were worried they wouldn’t be able to help Family Promise.  

“Their need has multiplied due to coronavirus at the same time that our fundraiser is being suspended,” Newland lamented.  

The Lima Kiwanians will use the grant from the Children’s Fund to purchase air mattresses and computer tablets for three families.  

Here are some other ways clubs are using grants to help children around the world: 

Kiwanis Club of Tokushima, Japan: The club is making bento meals for children at a local orphanage. Kiwanians say the meals, which will be made with local ingredients, are healthier than the kids’ usual diets — and will ease the burden of staff members who cook for them.  

Kiwanis Club of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida: Kiwanis members will be supply masks and hand sanitizer to children and families who are homeless and provide Friday night meals to needy students. 

Kiwanis Club of Haina, Taiwan: This club is working with a blood center to improve safety at blood drives. The Kiwanians are providing donors with masks and hand sanitizer and promoting blood-donation events throughout the community. 

Kiwanis Club of Liu  Tui, Taiwan: The club is providing boxed lunches to students whose parents have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and will supply masks when school resumes. 

Read how clubs are using grants to feed hungry children and buy computers during COVID-19 pandemic.  


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