It Takes a Community

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Kim Henderson, President of the Chesapeake Kiwanis Club

Kim Henderson, President of the Chesapeake Kiwanis Club

It Takes a Community

By JAYNE THURBER-SMITH

The Chesapeake Kiwanis Club wants to invite you to their 34th Annual Shrimp Feast, being held Thursday May 16 at the Chesapeake City Park. The major fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club, the Shrimp Feast will run in conjunction with opening day of the Chesapeake Jubilee from 4:30 pm to 7:00 pm. For $25 you get an inexpensive all-inclusive evening: entertainment by The Deloreans, a feast of shrimp, barbeque, baked beans, cole slaw, hushpuppies, ice cold beverages and wine. You also get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting many worthwhile causes in your hometown.

The Chesapeake Kiwanis returned almost $10,000 back to the community in 2012. Some of the beneficiaries included The Salvation Army, Kiwanis Kids Fishing Day, Chesapeake Schools After-Prom Parties, Chesapeake 4-H, the Christopher Gower Memorial, Chesapeake Humane Society and the Chesapeake Jail Ministry.

The Citizen caught up with Shrimp Feast Chairman Buddy Cummings at the Kiwanis’ favorite gathering place: Pop’s Diner. Their club meets here twice a month, but this is an extra meeting to ensure everything is on schedule. Buddy is joined by past club presidents Fred Woodall and Richard Pippin, as well as current president Kim Henderson.

“The first Shrimp Feast was in 1980, and we’ve put it on every year since then,” says Woodall. “We’re a community service organization. Everything we earn goes back to the community.”

“This is the biggest event we do,” Cummings comments, “and it takes a lot of dedication. I’m just a figurehead. It takes all 36 of our club members to make it work.”

Also making it work are the teenagers from four High School Key Clubs that the Kiwanis sponsor.

Chesapeake Kiwanis at last year’s Shrimp Feast. Left to right are Bill Cuthriell, Linda Smith, Berkley Gibbs, Langford Smith, Brian Auten, John O'Keefe, Richard Pippin, Jeff Creekmore, Jim Schrader, (unidentified) and Fred Hughes.

Chesapeake Kiwanis at last year’s Shrimp Feast.
Left to right are Bill Cuthriell, Linda Smith, Berkley Gibbs, Langford Smith, Brian Auten, John O’Keefe, Richard Pippin, Jeff Creekmore, Jim Schrader, (unidentified) and Fred Hughes.

“We get tremendous support from our kids’ clubs,” says Pippin. “Kids are our priority. We sponsor Great Bridge High School, Deep Creek, Oscar Smith and Indian River. We support their activities and they support our activities. We award scholarships to the deserving member of each high school club.”

Kiwanis has something to offer for everyone, from childhood to adulthood. There are Circle K International clubs for college students, Key Leader clubs for youth leaders, K-Kids for elementary students, Terrific Kids (a student recognition program), Bring Up Grades student program, Aktion Club for adults with disabilities, and Kiwanis Junior for young adults in Europe. Young Children: Priority One is an ongoing service program of Kiwanis International, addressing the needs of prenatal and infants.

“We also work with kids in Middle School Builders Clubs,” Woodall adds. “We sponsor Greenbrier Middle School. We believe in getting kids started in community service early on.”

Kiwanis is a deep-rooted, global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. Kiwanis started up almost a hundred years ago in Detroit MI, in 1915. The Kiwanis Club of Southside Norfolk was initially chartered in 1927. In 1963 when the communities of South Norfolk and Norfolk County merged to form the City of Chesapeake, the Club’s name was revised to the Kiwanis Club of Chesapeake. They are all about volunteering their time and talents to make Chesapeake an even better place to live.

“If someone approaches us with a need, we always review and consider it,” says Henderson. “We’re here for the community. We’re also always looking for new members! We all have fun together making money, and then we get to give it away.”

The members of the Kiwanis Club of Chesapeake take pride in being a part of a much bigger picture. There are now around 8,000 clubs in 96 countries, with more than 260,000 adult members and approximately 320,000 youth. Members and clubs have contributed more than $80 million toward the elimination of iodine deficiency disorders, the leading preventable cause of mental retardation. Each year globally, clubs sponsor nearly 150,000 service projects and raise more than $107 million.

“The friendships I’ve gained over the last few years have been remarkable,” says Cummings.  “It’s rewarding in so many ways to be able to commit your time together to raise funds through the Shrimp Feast and see the community benefit.”

“We are so grateful for our sponsors who help us before this event even happens,” adds Henderson. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

Interested in being a sponsor for the Shrimp Feast? Please call 757-479-2151. The $25 tickets to attend the big event are on sale at any Bank of Hampton Roads Chesapeake branch until May 13th. If there are any tickets left available on May 16th they will be sold at the gate for $35.

To be guaranteed a great evening, just show up with a ticket and your appetite!

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