Annual projects include Walk with a Child, which allows children to shop for school supplies with a Kiwanis member, the spring pancake breakfast and contributions to the Partners in Education Bringing Up Grades program. The club’s annual auction is its biggest source of income.
“We do a lot for children here,” Rowady said.
Kiwanis Club meets every Wednesday at noon at Taste of China. The club is open to anyone interested, though membership is largely male. There are approximately 40 current members, and the club recently welcomed some new members from the Clark County Kiwanis Club, which disbanded in the fall.
Meetings are relaxed, and members are encouraged to share prayer requests and praise reports. Each week, members say the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer, and sometimes sing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” or some another song.
“We’ve got a good mixture of people,” said Ladd.
Rowady said that interest in civic clubs has waned over the years, but the core group of Kiwanians has remained faithful.
“I feel, and this probably applies to the other civic clubs, that they will be gaining membership again,” Rowady said.
In the early years, belonging to Kiwanis was a privilege, and most downtown merchants made it a point to attend meetings each week. Many public officials were also part of Kiwanis, Rowady said. Meetings were more formal back then, and Rowady recalled men wearing tuxedoes to officer installation ceremonies.
Even then, though, Rowady said, “Kiwanis was doing a lot for young people.” He estimates that the Winchester Kiwanis Club has purchased as many as 60,000 pairs of shoes for children.
“This service club was always looking for ways to help people,” Rowady said.
For John Coe, the Kiwanis Club has been a way to get involved in a new community. Coe joined the Kiwanis Club in 1986 in Omaha, Neb., and made it a point to find the local chapter when he moved to Winchester in 2007. He has been a member of several clubs across the country.
“Each club I was in was different, of course, but they all had something to offer,” Coe said. “We have wonderful speakers. I’ve learned so much about the Winchester community.”
Coe has even been able to share some things he has learned at other clubs, including the logistics of the Cheyenne, Wyo., Kiwanis Club pancake breakfast, one of the biggest in the country. The pancake breakfast and the annual auction are the club’s two biggest fundraisers.
Although the club’s main goal is to help others, Kirby Roberts said that the club is helpful to members, as well, giving them a social outlet and a chance to get involved in the community.
“It’s a way to give back to the community that’s been good to me over the years,” Roberts said.
Contact Rachel Parsons at firstname.lastname@example.org.