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Grants help Kiwanians serve kids during pandemic

Jennifer Morlan | May 05, 2020
A Kiwanis member collects food for hungry children.

Lost wages. Isolation. Illness. Hunger. Anxiety. Families are struggling with the wide-ranging effects of the coronavirus. But when times are hard, Kiwanians are there to help.

From Uganda to Louisiana, Taiwan to Ohio, Kiwanis clubs are feeding the hungry, providing students with resources for online schooling and helping families deal with hardships stemming from the pandemic.

As of Monday, May 4, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund has awarded 21 grants to clubs totaling more than US$48,000 to serve communities around the world.

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

Without the grant, the Kiwanis Club of Cuyahoga Falls in Ohio wouldn’t have been able to buy food for 300 students and family members each week, said member Tricia Knoles.

“We just had to cancel our casino fundraiser that brought in $7,000 last year,” she said. “We want to be able to keep helping without depleting our community service account.”

The 2-year-old club, which had already contributed US$1,000, is using grant money to buy food that is distributed to Cuyahoga Falls City Schools elementary students and families. Club members are working with the Akron/Canton regional food bank, a locally owned grocery and Panera Bread to fill boxes with fresh food and pantry items. Club members also help community partners package and distribute the food.

Before the pandemic, two elementary schools had taken part in the program, which provided a backpack of food to carry students through the weekend. Now, children at all the city’s elementary schools can receive seven days of breakfast, lunch and snacks plus two family-sized dinners. 

Knoles has been moved by the response to the program. Several parents shared that they hadn’t used a food program before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

“What a beautiful and considerate way to show myself and my children that kindness and generosity exist in humanity,” one parent wrote.

Like the Cuyahoga Falls Kiwanians, many clubs are using grant money to provide food to children and families in their communities. Here are some other examples of the projects that have received grants from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund: 

Kiwanis Club of Wakiso, Uganda:
Kiwanis members in Uganda are using two public holidays in June to distribute food to 500 homesteads, allowing all club members to participate. Each homestead will receive posho, a type of maize flour, and beans — East African staples for Ugandans and refugees.

Kiwanis Club of Brecksville, Ohio:
The Kiwanis club is partnering with the Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District Parent School Organization to help 33 families. The club will use the grant money to buy grocery store gift cards that will be distributed in late May to alleviate some of the financial burden during the summer. 

Kiwanis Club of New Iberia, Louisiana:
Working with a social service center and area churches, the club is buying non-perishable food items to distribute through a drive-thru location. The club hopes to pack up to 1,000 bags of food.  

Kiwanis Club of Chester, Virginia:
Kiwanians will use the grant to supplement contributions to a local food bank that is currently providing 330,000 meals to community residents.

Heartprint Kiwanis Club of Hsinchu City, Taiwan:
As many as 300 elementary students whose parents have been laid off due to the economic fallout will receive free, nutritious meals.

Kiwanis Club of North Shore Long Island, New York:
Kiwanis members are donating canned goods and other non-perishable food items for two food pantries that recently opened at the local schools. Students can pick up “grab and go” meals five days a week, and boxes of food are distributed to families once a week.
 
Kiwanis Club of Hilliard, Ohio: Since April 1, the club has more than doubled the number of weekend food packs it prepares for children who face food insecurity in its community. The grant will allow the club to continue its program during the summer.


 

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