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Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres to celebrate 50 years
May 9, 2018

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Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres will hold its 50th Anniversary Celebration on May 19, at the Christ United Methodist Church.

The local club has served the community in many ways throughout the years. Those in attendance will include members from other Florida Kiwanis Clubs and dignitaries from all around the state.

"We will have about 100 invitees who will have a chance to see what we do and how we operate in the community. There will a display during that show to highlight some of the things we have done throughout the year," said Lehigh Kiwanis Secretary/Secretary, Nancy Bartlett.

A dinner will be served and guest speakers are scheduled to talk during the evening to share their experiences and thoughts. The Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres 50th Anniversary speakers are as follows:

Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres Charter Member, Jon Oliff, speaking about "Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres 50 Years Down Memory Lane"; Florida Kiwanis Div. 19 Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Elaine, "Membership in Florida Kiwanis Div. 19, and Kiwanis International"; Kiwanis International Foundation Trustee, Stewart Ross, "Kiwanis International, Florida and Lehigh Foundation and Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres Charter Member, Rick Anglickis, "Becoming Kiwanians-What We're All About."

"Many people don't realize the things we do in the community. Over the years, the club has performed many services in the Lehigh Acres, including sponsoring K-Kids, Builders Clubs, Aktion Club and Key Clubs in local schools, and supporting Little League," Bartlett said.

Other Kiwanis initiatives include: The Eliminate Project-for immunizations worldwide, March of Dimes walks, packaged food to feed the poor, Trunk or Treat in conjunction with the Rotary Clubs' "Haunted Walk," and providing Thanksgiving dinners.

"Every year we distribute thousands of Thanksgiving dinners to families in need. We have teachers at the local schools pick out the families and then we deliver the turkeys and sides to the schools," said Bartlett.

"It's great to see those people pull-up and know that they have this nice Thanksgiving dinner waiting for them and their families."

The Kiwanis also provided services following the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

"We furnished ice and hot meals to Irma victims by working with Riverside Church, government agencies and the Red Cross," Bartlett said.

Kiwanis recently sponsored the Dean McNew Scholarship Golf Tournament, which was held at the Mirror Lakes Golf Club.

"We awarded about 260,000 in scholarships to deserving students last year," said Bartlett.

According to Bartlett, the Kiwanis works closely with Lehigh Acres Community Services to help families who need food, household items and other necessities.

"We own a plot of land out at Farmer Joes. Whatever comes from that garden gets donated to Community Services for them to distribute to families," said Bartlett.

In April 10, 1968, the Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres was chartered by Kiwanis International, based in Indianapolis IN. This year marks the 50th Anniversary for Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres.

Kiwanis started in Detroit by a group of business men, who met for fellowship and fraternity, but a higher purpose emerged as the group evolved into an impassioned service, supporting children and young adults

The 50th anniversary event is not open to the public, but those interested in learning more about the Kiwanis Club of Lehigh Acres can attend its weekly breakfast meetings, which are held at 7 a.m. at Hope Hospice Community Room, 1202 Wings Way, off Beth Stacey.

Those interested in becoming a member, can call the Lehigh Kiwanis Membership Chairman, Stan Viner, at 239-770-4159 and leave a message, or, stop by the Lehigh Kiwanis Thrift Store located at 15 Homestead Rd., and ask for Damon Shelor.

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