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Serving the local and global community
The word “Kiwanis” comes from an Indian word meaning “we build,” and considering all of St. Anthony Kiwanis Club’s community-building activities, the term certainly fits.
Chartered in 1962, the St. Anthony Kiwanis Club is a 501C-3 organization consisting of business-people, retirees, friends and neighbors with a desire to serve the community and make it a better place. The club offers men and women the chance to serve the community and have fun at the same time.
Club president Mary Dierbeck says one goal for 2016 is to increase membership. The club currently has 43 members. The group welcomes new faces.
“We want to encourage people to get involved in any capacity,” Dierbeck says. “We want to inspire a younger generation to work with this great organization, even if they can only commit to a few hours a month.”
Kiwanis members are active in all facets of the community, especially local schools. They enjoy helping children with reading in classrooms, and often distribute donations, such as shoes, blankets and other necessities to kids in need.
The Kiwanis organization supports various youth programs, including the K-Kids Club at Wilshire Park (40 members), Builders Club at St. Anthony Middle School (20 members), Key Club at St. Anthony High School (40 members) and Aktion Club at St. Anthony Community Center (15 members).
“Our young volunteers in these clubs are taught that there is a lot of need in their community and are shown ways they can help,” Dierbeck says.
The club also fundraises to support local food shelves, Feed My Starving Children, scholarship programs, Camp Courage, Special Olympics, Meals on Wheels and the Salvation Army’s outreach programs.
Saving lives, building camaraderie
In addition to the St. Anthony Kiwanis Club’s local projects, Kiwanis International as a whole has joined UNICEF in an effort to eliminate maternal and neo-natal tetanus across the globe. This deadly disease is known as MNT and once contracted, the fatality rate can reach 100 percent in some of the poorest areas of the world. Without adequate healthcare, newborns can suffer repeated convulsions and are painfully sensitive to light and even to their mother’s touch.
“In past years we have raised around $3,000 each year toward the global effort in eliminating tetanus,” says Paul Redlinger, a Kiwanis member since 1995.
“We have also raised, on average, about $20,000 per year in funding that goes directly to those in need right here in the St. Anthony area.”
The St. Anthony Kiwanis Club meets at noon on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at Culver’s for general-interest topics or special-project speakers.
The club also meets at 7:30 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.
For more information about joining the St. Anthony Kiwanis Club, or information on volunteering, contact Mary Dierbeck at 651-651-697-7843 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or see our website at saintanthonykiwanis.org.