For the past 101 years, Kiwanis International has been bettering the lives of countless individuals throughout the world with its impressive fundraising, dedicated service and strong support from local communities. For the past 60 years, Twin City Kiwanis has been focused on coming together and serving the needs in and around Forsyth County with the Kiwanis slogan, “Young Children, Priority One,” as its driving force.
The Twin City Kiwanis signature annual event is the Pancake Jamboree. “I have been a member of this club for about a dozen years and have thoroughly enjoyed the work we do to help our community and to make the world a little better place because we passed through it,” said Walt Kinsey. “Locally, through the Pancake Jamboree, we work to enrich the lives of the needy children in our own community. We do so through a variety of programs we support locally with the proceeds of the Pancake Jamboree. Each year we raise about $30,000 to give to this community. We support literacy programs among many other causes, as well as better nutrition, by supporting programs like The Enrichment Center, March of Dimes March for Babies, Children of Vietnam, Forsyth Educational Partnership, Old Hickory Boy Scouts, Second Harvest Food Bank, Salvation Army, Smart Start of Forsyth County, Augustine Literacy Project, and Forsyth Jail & Prison Ministries. We also award scholarships to graduating seniors. In 2014–2015, our total Foundation Donations were $44,275.38—all because a few people had pancakes with us.”
While the impact of the Pancake Jamboree is strongly felt within the community, the work done by Kiwanis does not stop there. “Internationally, over the last decade, we have collectively worked to eliminate disfiguring goiters by the simple process of iodizing salt and, in cooperation with UNICEF, we accomplished that goal,” said Kinsey. “Presently, we are working to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus, so common, especially with babies, which is a very painful way to die. Raising funds to be able to administer an 87-cent inoculation can prevent so much pain and death. We have the means and have virtually eliminated tetanus in much of the developed world. Kiwanis, again with UNICEF, is working to eliminate tetanus worldwide.”
While Kiwanis has been able to do so much for the people of our community and around the world since its founding, there is always room for growth and the desire to do more. “We can best serve as our club grows in size and dedication to the community,” said Kinsey. “We invite new members to join us. The fellowship is fun; the meetings are weekly at noon at the Forsyth Country Club for Wednesday luncheons. We are also always open to contributions, large or small, that will be directed to the programs for youth which we support. 100% of the proceeds of any contribution go to the programs we support, and our club is fully operational, with membership dues paid by members so that all contributions are directed to the programs themselves, and not to club operations. Even the leftover supplies are donated to the shelter for homeless after we’re done serving. We want to do more to serve. Seeing growth in attendance; seeing more people enjoy what we do; having new members join Twin City Kiwanis to continue the tradition. We are always open to ideas that can expand the effectiveness of our fundraiser, either through cost savings or new ideas to make it work better—ideas to help solicit contributions or just have more people come out. Many of our members do the same service year after year, but all of us have a few more gray hairs than we did before, so we need to see new members take up the effort on into the future.”
The 2017 Pancake Jamboree will be held on the lower level of the Benton Convention Center in the south hall on February 3rd from 6:30am–8pm. Tickets are $7/adult and $3/children under age 13. To purchase tickets in advance, contact a local Twin City Kiwanian you may know, or call “Mr. Pancake 2017” at 336.391.2061. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. For more information about Twin City Kiwanis, visit the website at www.twin-city.kiwanisone.org.