Children fishing in a pond teaming with feisty fish. A professional baseball stadium filled with cheering fans. A community center abuzz with cheerful diners devouring succulent crab. What do all of the activities have in common? Kiwanians… Fairfield Kiwanians to be exact.
The Fairfield Kiwanis club is a group of 35 individuals who believe in making their community better through donations of time and money. Crab feeds and the like are critical fundraisers that allow the members of the club to raise money that goes directly back into the community underwriting and sponsoring such activities as Kids Day of Fishing and Kids Day at the Park (young children enjoying a free Oakland A’s baseball game complete with a goodie bag and custom designed T-shirt).
While children and their well-being are the focus of many activities, any worthy local community cause is examined for potential assistance. Fairfield Kiwanians pride themselves on “not just writing checks” to help, but providing hands-on support to a myriad of local projects and entities.
Officially, the members of the club meet each Thursday at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel for lunch. The perpetual agenda includes: announcements, recognition of birthdays and anniversaries, “happy and sad” dollars (members proclaiming good or bad news), as well as the administration of well-intentioned “fines” by the president for perceived “infractions” in meeting and/or community conduct (aka, nothing more than good-natured ribbing to raise additional dollars for community disbursement).
Unofficially, members meet many weekends on a completely voluntary basis to lend a hand to those local community entities in need. A past May was an especially busy month. Nearly every weekend an activity took place that benefitted the local community.
Early in the month, members of the Kiwanis club teamed up with teenage Key Clubbers (high school aged, community sponsored youths) to rebuild fire-and winter-damaged trails in nearby Rockville Park. The half day of intensive manual labor ended with pizza and soda for each of the hard workers heavily laden with perspiration, older and younger alike.
Later in the month, a chili cook-off featured a member’s top vote getting recipe for all to sample in a fundraiser for the Kiwanis Family House in Sacramento. The family house is located adjacent to UC Davis medical center in Sacramento where family members of critically ill children hospitalized nearby may stay for an unlimited time for a greatly reduced cost. The family house is a regionally-sponsored Kiwanis mainstay for those in need.
In between noted activities, Key Club advisors with assistance from many active members - the Kiwanis Club of Fairfield sponsors Key Clubs at both Armijo and Rodriguez High Schools – were busy assisting with numerous youth-oriented projects championed by high school members to raise money as well as provide many hours of local community service.
In noted practice, the Fairfield Kiwanis Club takes its mission to make the local community a better place seriously. The club continues to maintain a long tradition of hands-on assistance and fundraising begun when the local membership contingent was officially established and chartered in 1954. In fact, the local club’s biggest fundraiser – the annual crab feed filling the Fairfield Community Center with in excess of 450 hungry seafood lovers - takes place each January, making it one of the best attended and longest-enduring community fundraisers.
As Kiwanis International explains in an informational brochure, the community-minded “champions for children” organization was founded in 1915 and is currently headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. More than 8,000 clubs in 96 countries consist of in excess of 260,000 members. Thirty four of which locally extol the long-standing international vision and focus of “serving the children of the world” through beneficial hands-on community involvement and development.
For more information about the Fairfield Kiwanis Club see http://www.kiwanisoffairfield.org. Additional information about the international organization is available at http://www.kiwanis.org.