For three-quarters of a century the Kiwanis Club of the Five Towns has been an active community service organization that has touched the lives of injured children, kids just beginning to learn and students going to college, police officers and breast cancer patients.
Established on March 21, 1944, the group holds an annual golf tournament in memory of Marty Mongoni, this year on July 15, the George Amitrano Pancake Breakfast and on May 16 Wine Night with a four-course dinner to help celebrate its 75 years.
Woodmere resident Rick Levine, a member since 1988, said he joined in pursuit of giving back to the community. “I learned leadership and met fellow Kiwanians from across the state, who all have the same goal: to help those in need,” said the past president and Lt. Governor, a state Kiwanian post. “I get the most satisfaction when our club gets feedbacks from someone we helped. It is very rewarding.”
That includes injured children healed after at the Level I pediatric trauma center at the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, which is part of Northwell Health that Kiwanis supports as well as donating pediatric trauma kits to area firehouses. The kits have helped reduce fatalities by 75 percent, said Kiwanis member Tom Cohen, a Hewlett Harbor resident.
“I was introduced to the Five Towns club by my friend Marty Schwartz, said Cohen, who joined in 2001. “Marty invited me to attend weekly meetings and I immediately felt a sense of camaraderie.”
More than $250,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to graduating seniors at Hewlett, Lawrence and Lynbrook high schools. For the past 30 years, the Five Towns Kiwanis has held a model Seder, where all are welcome to learn about the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Over the years there have been toy drives, periodic clothing drives and distributing turkeys for Thanksgiving. Police Officer Appreciation Night highlights the work of the 4th Precinct and a recently created program paid quick dividends, Cohen said.
“A recent member, Marc Field, promoted a project to help families displaced by structure fires in our neighborhood,” he said. “The first week our program was in place a family of five lost their home due to a structure fire. We immediately ran over and gave each member of the family a $100 gift card so they could purchase basic necessities. Words cannot describe their grateful emotions or our sense of pride knowing that we helped a family in need.” The Valley Stream fire was in 2016.
“Through the many years, in ways too many to be counted, our friends from Kiwanis have always responded with their time, talents and their treasures,” said Early Learning Center Executive Director Pepper Robinson, an honorary Kiwanian.
Wine Night is Thursday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m., at Temple Avodah at 3040 Oceanside Rd. in Oceanside. $85 per person. Contact Anthony Campanile at (516) 808-3105 or firstname.lastname@example.org or David Vines at (516) 382-4741 or email@example.com.