By KATIE DONALDSON
The Union City Kiwanis Club carried out another meeting on Thursday, just as it has for the past 73 years.
It began with the statement and pledge to change the world “one child and one community at a time” and then the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer were said.
After the meeting’s opening, the club proceeded to do what Kiwanis was founded for, helping children.
The Union City Kiwanis Club is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s lives in the community and the world. It has raised funds for children and the community since it received its charter in 1939.
Nationally, more than 600,000 people are active Kiwanis members. Unfortunately, this number does not distribute evenly among all Kiwanis clubs. The Union City club currently has only 28 members — a number that’s the result of declining membership over its long history. The local club needs more members to continue supporting the community as it has for more than seven decades, a spokesman said.
“The Kiwanis has done so much for the youth of the community,” said Robert Wood, a member since 1950. “I’ve enjoyed my 62 years.”
Wood hopes the club will keep helping the youth and Obion County community for many years to come.
His father was one of the original charter members. These members had their first Kiwanis Club Pancake Day the year they received their charter. It remains one of the club’s biggest fundraisers and takes place each November.
The Kiwanis Club also holds Burgers in the Park each May and organizes Kans for Kids. They sell ads for their annual Placemat Project, which provides banquet placemats. All proceeds from these events and projects go toward the different organizations the club donates to or sponsors. The club sponsors Special Olympics; the Read Aloud Program, which promotes literacy in children and adults; and Union City High School. The club also donates to the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Tennessee, Chimes for Charity, Girls State and Boys State, 4-H programs, the Obion County Central High School Key Club and several other local programs. It is also known for helping provide Kiwanis Park, located beside the Municipal Building in Union City, and the Senior Citizens Center in downtown Union City.
Kiwanis has helped countless OCCHS and UCHS seniors through its Student of the Year banquet, where the club gives 14 $500 college scholarships. The club also sponsors the Student of the Month program, which honors high school students with outstanding academic achievements.
Kiwanis recently joined with the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, to sponsor the ELIMINATE program. This program raises funds to stop the spread of maternal and neonatal tetanus, a disease caused by unclean deliveries and unhygienic umbilical cord practices.
The club donated funds to the ELIMINATE program last Thursday.
The current members are, in alphabetical order: Steve Beachum; Christie Beeler, secretary; Tracy Boucher, vice president; Forrest Briggs; Margaret Cook; John Cooper; Shane Dodson, board member; Edith Dunevant, board member; John Fry, president-elect; Kay Fultz; Fred Hancock, board member; David Harris, board member; Myrtle Harton; Dan Huggins; McKinley Johnson, president; Amber Jones; Courtney King; Margaret Moore, treasurer; Sherry Naylor, board member; Robert Nichols, board member; Seth Rhenberg; Jim Robertson, board member; Jennifer Slack, board member; Paul Sternisha; Randy Thetford, board member; Joe Ward, board member; Robert Wood; and Ronnie Workman.
The club hopes to gain more people who are willing to help and work toward improving the community as it has done for more than 70 years. The club needs more hardworking members to help fulfill its mission to make the world better “one child and one community at a time.”
The Kiwanis Club meets at noon the first three Thursdays of every month at Another Thyme, located on North First Street in Union City.
For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/UCKiwanis.
Residents who are interested in becoming members are asked to contact Christie Beeler at 886-6171 or John Fry at 885-2599.
Messenger intern Katie Donaldson, daughter of Jim and Cindy Donaldson of Union City, is a rising senior at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Published in The Messenger 7.23.12