It’s always exciting to open a real letter. It’s even better when you recognize the handwriting on the envelope and feel instantly happy, like I did a few weeks ago when I found a letter in my mailbox from my old friend Ray Scahill.
When I worked at The Times coordinating community news, Ray was a familiar face submitting photos and articles to the paper. His charitable efforts often put him in the news as well.
He wrote me this time to tell me about the Lansing Golden-K Kiwanis Club’s recent happenings and we followed up with a phone call this week so that I could share all the scoop with you.
A few weeks ago, the club held its annual chili dinner with 24 attendees. This annual get-together spotlights the culinary skills of three members who volunteer to cook up big and delicious pots of chili. Other members bring a side dish or a salad and pitch in with organizing, setup and cleanup. Members and their friends are invited and I’m told everyone this year had a great time.
Attendees especially enjoyed taking a quiz to see who could name the winning movies, actors and actresses from previous Academy Awards. Five winners earned a surprise gift for their movie knowledge.
The Golden-Ks currently have 13 members and they give to several charitable organizations and Illiana, Luther East and T.F South high schools in Lansing.
“We’re small but we contribute,” Scahill, the club’s vice president, said. Groups include the Builders’ Club, Lansing paramedics, Lansing Fire Department, LARC, Hearts in Motion, Lansing Historical Society, St. Joseph’s Kitchen and Camp Quality. The group also donates to the food pantry and buys books for kindergartners.
The biggest project for the Golden Ks began two years ago, Scahill said.
Kiwanis world headquarters in Indianapolis asked Kiwanis clubs if they could contribute to the Eliminate Project, a partnership between Kiwanis International and UNICEF to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.
“We started contributing to that,” Scahill said, “Even though we’re small, we gave $1,000 last year.” He said a special thanks belonged to Marsha King who donated $500 to the club in memory of her father, Everett King, the Golden K’s longtime treasurer.
For more information on the Eliminate Project visit http://sites.kiwanis.org/Kiwanis/en/theELIMINATEproject/home.aspx
In mid-April, the Golden Ks held a special dinner for local religious leaders. Club president Mel DeVries sent personal invitations to leaders in Lansing, Calumet City, South Holland and Munster. This year, they had six attendees and each one was asked to stand up and talk about his or her church. “It’s really a nice event,” Scahill said.
The next big project for the group is Tag Days at the end of June. Members will pass out bookmarks donated by First National Bank of Lansing and accept donations.
Scahill, who joined the Golden Ks 13 years ago, had never belonged to a club but after hearing about what the club did for the community, he decided to take part.
When he signed up, he was surprised to learn the club had never had a female member.
“I said to myself we’re going to have women if it kills me. We recruited a few ladies and that broke the barrier and I was really proud of that,” Scahill said.
The club is always seeking new members from Lansing and the nearby communities. Those who are interested can attend a meeting, which are held at 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday at the Eisenhower Center in Lansing. For more information, call Scahill at (708) 474-1882.