SOUTH FORK — Over the last several years, South Fork Kiwanis has played a large role in community support and events with its annual fundraising and donation collections.
The group reaches out, not only to the South Fork community but well beyond to share their generosity with the San Luis Valley. Now, the group is seeking new members and hopes to generate interest in the younger generations to see that the organization continues to thrive.
Through the years, Kiwanis has hosted several events and donated generously to local organizations. Every year until 2020, the group has held a Thanksgiving dinner that served up to 500 people a full-course meal. Kiwanis would spend weeks before the event preparing the food and would cook 30 turkeys. According to Kiwanis member Karen Miller, this year’s event is up in the air.
“We didn’t have the event last year because of COVID and we have in the past relied on the generosity of the Del Norte school district for the use of their kitchen. This year, however, we just are not sure if we have the volunteers and or the kitchen space needed to have the event,” she said, adding that they will announce their decision later this month.
Events like the Thanksgiving dinner that offers many individuals a place to go during the holidays are at risk of disappearing altogether if new members can’t be found.
“We lost the Monte Vista branch after 90 years of service and it is sad to see this group diminish,” Miller said.
Other charitable events included Easter celebrations where children in the Headstart program participate in an Easter egg hunt and visit with the Easter Bunny every spring as well as the annual brisket dinner fundraiser hosted during the Third of July celebration in South Fork. During this event, guests purchase a brisket dinner provided by Mountain View Restaurant, of Monte Vista, and all proceeds went to help purchase books and provide Christmas parties for local elementary and Headstart students.
In the past, the group has put together hygiene kits for area migrant workers during the summer and donates to several organizations including local food banks throughout the year. They also get together once a year for an area-wide service day when all local Kiwanis branches come together for service projects like cleaning up local cemeteries, re-painting projects, and more.
The organization is accepting members of all ages, backgrounds, and viewpoints. South Fork Kiwanis meets once a month. Its next meeting is at noon on Oct. 7 at Two Rivers BBQ in South Fork. Potential new members are encouraged to attend.