Current Temperature: ° F August 20, 2014
 
The Northside Naples Kiwanis Club presents the members with the opportunity to participate in various community service projects. Volunteering in these projects provides a member with the chance to serve the community and generate fellowship with other club members. Some of our more highly profiled service projects are summarized below.

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Flu Shots Thanksgiving Baskets
Habitat for Humanity Bell Ringing
Road Clean Up Christmas in Immokalee
Blood Drive Young Children: Priority One
Apples for Teachers Youth Services

Flu Shots:
Each year in October and November our club assists in the manning of the stations where flu shots are administered. Volunteers help checking people in and getting the personal data forms completed.

Habitat for Humanity:
Our club not only participates in the usual supplying of volunteers to help build these homes, but made a major contribution to Habitat for Humanity which resulted in the purchase of a building site in the name of Northside Naples Kiwanis.

Thanks to the initiative by our club, a joint effort by the Kiwanis clubs in our division will result in a Kiwanis Park developed at the Habitat for Humanity site.

Road Clean Up:
Twice a year we gather together 10-12 club members to walk our sponsored section of US 41 to clean up roadside debris. Usually takes approximately 1-2 hours.

Blood Drive:
Twice a year members volunteer to assist at a blood donation site. Volunteer duties are limited to checking in donors and getting personal data forms completed.

Apples for Teachers:
Once a year our club purchases a suuply of apples, attaches "thank you" labels, and then distributes the apples to the teachers at the various north Naples elementary and middle schools.

Thanksgiving Baskets:
A few days before Thanksgiving a group of club members go on a fun filled shopping spree at the supermarket to purchase supplies to be delivered to 5-8 families for Thanksgiving. Participating in this project is very rewarding and can change one's appreciation for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Bell Ringing:
At Christmas time our club provides volunteers to ring the bell at various locations in north Naples. This activity benefits the Salvation Army.

Christmas in Immokalee:
This tremendous undertaking that involves months of planning and coordinating is the flagship project of our club. Each year on Christmas Day a multitude of volunteers arrive in Immokalee to provide a Christmas meal for over 3,500 people, distribute much needed blankets and bring in Santa Claus to distribute gifts and toys to hundreds of children.


Thousands gather in Immokalee for holiday meal

By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER, aszagier@naplesnews.com

The fine china was nowhere in sight, replaced instead by Styrofoam containers.

There were no floral centerpieces on the grated metal benches and concrete tables, no Oriental rugs on the cold, dusty and barren ground. A speechless Santa was content to just smile, presents in hand but unable to speak the children's language.

For more than 20 years, Christmas in Immokalee has meant a rare day of rest for thousands of migrant farmworkers and their families. Thursday was no different, with an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 coming to Airport Park for an early afternoon holiday supper.

It's also a chance for a cadre of Naples volunteers to turn the tables and serve food and share gifts with those who spend the remainder of the year in the fields and packing houses, their fortunes ebbing and flowing with the season's crops.

"If the season is good, the parents are able to provide for their own, to get their children gifts," said Juan Medina, president of the Immokalee Kiwanis. "This hasn't been a good season."

The Northside Naples Kiwanis Club organized the event, with help from their brethren in Fort Myers, Lehigh Acres and Immokalee. Other volunteers came from area schools and youth groups, including a trio of teenagers from Boy Scout Troop 165 in Naples who served fruit punch from a 55-gallon trash can.

"It really helps us appreciate what Christmas is all about — giving," said Cody Martin, a 16-year-old junior at Naples High School. He was joined by Stephen Buckley and Douglas Sines, both 15 and taking turns using a canoe paddle to stir the punch.

Cody and his younger brother Michael, 14, have volunteered at the Immokalee Christmas meal for the past five years, said Angela Martin, their mom and Scout leader.

"The first year we came out, the kids were very upset," she said. "On the way back home they said, 'Are we doing this next year?' "

From the look of things, no one left the park hungry. Each guest was given a tray packed with chicken, beans, dinner rolls, salad and tomatoes, with a choice of pecan, apple and pumpkin pies for dessert.

Unused loaves of bread were given away, along with truckloads of winter clothes and blankets and toys for the kids. The Northside Naples Kiwanis spent an estimated $20,000 beyond what was covered by donations, organizers said.

Luis Parra, 8, came to Airport Park with his mother, Maria, sister and three cousins. The Lake Trafford Elementary second-grader with a fruit punch mustache got a new football from the Kiwanis Santa. His cousins, Lupita Parra, also 8, and her sister Francesca, 10, took home make-up kits.

Though clearly excited over the day's events, Luis offered an observation both his mother and an observer had difficulty answering.

"How come we celebrate toys?" he wondered.

Tom Bauman of Naples doesn't know a Kiwanian from a kiwi. But there he was Thursday, helping out at the urging of a beach buddy who belongs to the club.

After passing busloads of migrant workers in Immokalee and LaBelle on a Thanksgiving trip across the state, Bauman realized he needed to spend at least one day returning the favor.

"It awes me to watch the way these people work," he said. "Thanksgiving Day for them was going out in the fields picking. And here we are, kicking back."


Young Children: Priority One:
Serving the young children of the community is an ongoing service project. We tailor programs to meet certain needs within our community.

Youth Services:
The Northside Naples Kiwanis Club sponsors and/or supports many small individual projects throughout the year that are geared towards our community's youth. On an ongoing basis we participate in a child mentoring program and also provide time, service, and money support to the north Naples elementary schools.

Contact Us| P.O. Box 770060 | Naples, FL 34107 
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