Devils Lake Kiwanis helps fund programs and projects for kids, and prepares holiday meals for those who would be alone.
Service organizations aren't what they once were, something any member of any service organization will tell you. Service organizations once did for communities what much of what government does today, and are often forgotten, or thought of as anachronistic. They're still with us, from Lions, Rotary, Odd Fellows, and Elks among them and the most well-known for those who know such things. All service organizations strive in some way to give back to the community.
Kiwanis here in Devils Lake is one of our local service organizations. It was founded locally in 1921, celebrating ninety-six years of volunteers giving back to this community.
"We have forty-six members," said Suzie Kenner, "and we conduct fundraisers throughout the year raising money for projects that help kids. Kiwanis helps kids locally, nationally, and internationally." Kenner is the current president of Devils Lake Kiwanis.
Indeed, Kiwanis has more than 600,000 members internationally, always trying to fit the needs of the the community to the needs of the children. Kiwanis organizations host nearly 150,000 projects each.
Here in Devils Lake, Kiwanis raises money throughout the year with concessions at football games and track meets, and their french toast feed. The money they raise goes to the summer meals program, Hope Center, Safe House, and the homeless shelter, everywhere there may be a kid in need.
"But we also give back a few times a year, too," said Kenner. "We provide Christmas and Thanksgiving meals. We rent the Senior Center, and anyone may come and eat. This is for families as well as for anyone who might otherwise spend the holiday alone. Families just need to RSVP us so we can prepare, and anyone who can't get out can RSVP us and we'll deliver a holiday meal to them."
Kiwanis also puts on the Devils Run Steak Fry, and a spring bicycle safety clinic. "Kids come with their bikes," said Kenner, "run an obstacle course, and leave with a brand new helmet. Oh, and our volunteers also go into the elementary schools and kindergarten and read to the classes during the school year."
Kiwanians don't need to do everything the club does, Kenner says. Just picking an activity to two to help with during the year is enough.
"People are so much busier today than they were in the past," she said, "and that does take a toll on all service organizations. But here, we've got such a laundry list of activities, that it won't take a lot of a person's time who wants to get involved. That's the nice thing about our club. Just a little time goes a long ways."