Reaching kids after quarantine

Stefanie Uhrig , Germany District PR Coordinator | Jul 02, 2020

Kids Need Kiwanis

Sometimes, things change. Events have been planned, donations have been promised to good causes — and suddenly, all events for the foreseeable future are cancelled. And still, kids need Kiwanis.

“Now is the time to help where children are most affected by the current situation,” says Jan Frischmann, president of the Erbach/Odenwald Kiwanis Club in the Germany District. So they did.

Luckily, the club had saved up some money for emergencies. The strategy: relatively small donations with big impact. That meant taking care of children living far away.

“In Germany, we are lucky,” said immediate past club president Stefan Uhrig. “Often it is a question of donating toys to a kindergarten or school bags to children in need.”  

Kids Need KiwanisWhich is very important, he adds, but for kids in other countries, donations might decide between having food or going hungry — or between getting the supplies they need to stay or becoming healthy.  

Before the coronavirus struck, the club already had ties to two projects: one in Peru and one in Uganda.

With their last fundraising event before the shutdown, the club raised €500 for Casa Verde, a children’s shelter in Arequipa, Peru. Two members who had visited the location have a godchild there and know the people responsible. Now the club gets regular updates on how the children are doing; the Erbach Kiwanians are relieved to hear that for now the situation is under control.

Food is scarce, on the other hand, in a village in Uganda. An organization called Abaana Afrika has dedicated itself to building and maintaining a school for the children there. But the school had to close, and the children were sent back to their families. Given that the kids usually received nutritious meals in school, it is now a huge burden for the families to feed everyone — especially with most people confined to their homes and unable to work.  

With a donation of €500, the Erbach/Odenwald Club provided a month of food for seven families. Because of that donation and others, Abaana Afrika was able to provide food for all the families that needed it. With the lockdown remaining in place, however, more funds may soon be needed.

Of course, Germany itself is not without kids who need Kiwanis. When a local radio station reported on the needs of women’s shelters, the club acted. Speaking with the administrators of one shelter, the Erbach/Odenwald club found that one of the biggest needs was games — mostly board games. They purchased some from a local store, which gave them a discount.

Club members also provided the shelter’s kids with a practical gift: Kiwanis-branded fabric masks, which the club had bought from their partner club in Schärding, Austria.  

“We wanted to support our fellow Kiwanians, of course,” Club President Frischmann says, “and the question of where to get masks was a widely discussed topic throughout Erbach.”  

The club also bought some for members. At one point, a store employee asked Uhrig where all these masks had come from. In a single day, she said, she had seen eight people walking around “with Kiwanis written on their faces.”


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