Last Wednesday, over 40 members of the Crofton Kiwanis Club joined for their annual Christmas party and to pull the winning raffle ticket from their fundraiser for this year, a gift basket worth $4,000 in local restaurant and business gift cards.
While a youngster named A.J. won the gift basket, the true winners were the Crofton Christian Caring Council and Sarah’s House, who will split the $18,000 bounty raised from the raffle.
The Crofton Kiwanis has been in existence for decades and is dedicated to charitable acts and contributions to the needy in the local community. All proceeds from their nominal dues as well as all funds donated and raised are given to charities.
While the Crofton Kiwanis are known for their 10K Challenge held on the Crofton Parkway every June, the organization is responsible for much more.
The Club is taking part in “Rebuilding Together,” a local nonprofit similar to Habitat for Humanity. The last Saturday of April 2019, Crofton Kiwanis volunteers will be completing home projects for veterans and others unable to improve their homes themselves.
“We do interior and exterior work,” said Crofton Kiwanis President Nancy Scaggs. “We’ve built wheelchair ramps, installed shower rails, electrical work, plumbing, whatever needs to be done.”
The Crofton Kiwanis also sponsors Key Clubs, dedicated to to community service, in area high schools Indian Creek, Archbishop Spalding, Meade and Arundel.
Students in the Key Clubs meet with their Kiwanis and school sponsors frequently to help the students generate ideas for charitable things to do in the community.
“Last year Archbishop Spalding’s Key Club collected over 600 coats for the local charity Happy Helpers for the Homeless,” Scaggs said. “The big part for getting involved with kids in high schools is to teach them to think what they can do in their community. We hope it will pay off later. We want them to want to help in their community.”
The Crofton Kiwanis also offers three, $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors who the club’s committee deem to have done the most in community service before graduation.
This year, the club’s 10K featured a 5K for the first time in 30 years.
“We weren’t gaining any new runners with the 10K,” said Scaggs. “Someone suggested a 5K walk and I thought why not a 5K race?”
Scaggs was concerned the 5K race would chase away the hardcore runners who look forward to the 10K Challenge each year. Instead, the entire event took on a whole new life.
“There were lots of kids with their moms and dads, it felt like a family event,” said Scaggs. “We gained over 300 runners. We were really happy we did it.
The next 10K and 5K will be held June 8, 2019.
Scaggs was contacted by a Glen Burnie elementary school asking if their running club could participate. Over 20 youngers from the school came together and ran in this year’s 5K. Scaggs is planning to reach out to local schools in every grade to encourage more children’s participation.
While the Crofton Kiwanis also helps smaller charities when funds are available, their predominant recipients of the club’s donated funds are the Crofton Christian Caring Council and Sarah’s House. This year’s donation was $4,000 each from last year’s auction.
However, the new raffle idea generated $9,000 to each charity for 2019. It is a record donation for the club.
“The Crofton Kiwanis has been a long-standing supporter of the Crofton Christian Caring Council and we are very appreciative because it to allows us to continue to help those in need,” said Crofton Christian Caring Council’s Sharon Shipley.
“The donation from the Crofton Kiwanis provides for all the field trips during the year, including Christmas, Easter and all of the summer activities for the children here,” said Kathryn Philliben, director of Sarah’s House.
Simple trips are taken to the dollar movies, libraries and county parks, while day trips to Sesame Place are also taken.
Perhaps most significant is the children’s ability to attend summer camp two times a week.
“The kids just love it,” Philliben said. “They can rock climb, swim, canoe and go fishing.”
Every field trip expense is covered by the Crofton Kiwanis’ donation, including children’s swimsuits.
The Crofton Kiwanis has an open meeting the second Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the Blue Dolphin Restaurant in Crofton. There is different speaker lined up for each month.
Prospective Kiwanis members can meet informally with club members for more information over dinner every fourth Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Ledo’s Pizza in Crofton.
“We’re just a group of citizens who are trying to make our community a better place,” said Scaggs.
For more information on the Crofton Kiwanis, email Scaggs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.