By Joel Phelps
When last year’s Covid-19 pandemic seemed to bring everything to a screeching halt, it didn’t stop Kiwanis of Clark County from showing the group’s dedication to serving children. Although its largest fundraiser of the year wasn’t held in person as in years past, the organization saw to it to hold its dessert auction.
Kiwanis took their fundraiser virtual, and are planning to do the same this year as a safeguard until the pandemic is over.
Going once, Going twice!
Saybra Scott, president-elect of the local organization, said this year’s Feeding Kids, Feeding Futures fundraiser will take place online, and hopes community members will reach into their wallets so Kiwanis reaches its goal. Scott said Kiwanis is $5,000 shy of reaching its $15,000 goal — the bulk of it having come from sponsorships prior to the fundraiser.
The dessert auction, which can be found on the Kiwanis Club of Clark County’s Facebook page, is as simple as any auction. There are 23 “mouth-watering” desserts that will be posted on the page. Participants place their bid in the comments below, and the highest bidder wins that dessert. The fundraiser takes place Sept. 27-30, with winners announced on Oct. 1.
The challenge in holding a virtual auction as opposed to a live one is the lack of the social connection. “Before we auctioned off items, we could talk about the organization and how important it is to help,” Scott said. “In person it’s a lot easier to raise money. We were able to raise $13,000 the first year I started, and we were raising more every year until Covid hit.” During the live auctions, Scott said, it was common for a pie to go for $100.
Although 2020’s virtual auction didn’t pull in as much as the club would have liked, Scott said the club was still able to help children. “Every year’s a success,” she said. “We didn’t reach our goal, but didn’t expect to because of Covid. The fact we were still able to raise over $10,000 was awesome.”
Kiwanis takes 15 percent of the auction’s proceeds to operate the club’s other events throughout the year. The rest funds the many other youth programs Kiwanis is responsible for.
Since the local organization’s inception nearly a decade ago it has been giving out food-filled backpacks to children in area schools — from Centerpoint to Sparkman, and from Gurdon to Arkadelphia. The backpack program ensures that students in need of food have something to take home and eat for the weekend. Churches in Sparkman’s neighboring communities took over the backpack program, so Kiwanis took a different approach, supplying funds so that students without Internet access at home had a hotspot.
Each year, Kiwanis has a Christmas event in which members go to area schools and, dressed as Santa Claus, hand out coloring books and crayons to elementary students.
Kiwanis recently donated to the Percy and Donna Malone Child Safety Center. The organization has donated hygiene products where needed, and have delivered water and snacks to band students in both Gurdon and Arkadelphia. When they’re not busy giving back to children, they’re busy collecting for them. The group occasionally convenes at Flying Burger in Caddo Valley, collecting donations that can be added to the total cost of the meal at that restaurant.
“We know when a school needs money for something,” Scott said. “And the more money we raise, the more we can help children in that way.” Kiwanis of Clark County also has a PayPal account where individuals can donate for any fundraising event or at anytime throughout the year.
With 15-17 members, Scott said Kiwanis hopes to grow its membership. The group meets two Wednesdays of each month at 11 a.m. at various locations in Arkadelphia. To join, contact the group on its Facebook page.