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  • Writer's pictureSean Friel

Kiwanis Club celebrating 100 years

The Kiwanis Club features guest speakers during their meetings who speak on different events and organizations from around town. Pictured: Atlantic County Sheriff Eric Scheffler (second from left) presented to the Kiwanis Club in 2020. He is pictured with (l-r) 2020 Vice President Ray Scipione, Under Sheriff Richard Komar, Hammonton Police Chief Kevin Friel and 2020 President PJ Pullia. (Courtesy Photo)

Hammonton’s Kiwanis Club will be hosting an event along with the Kiwanis Club of Egg Harbor City, to celebrate 100 years of the club, on May 24. Bob Schenk, a member of the Kiwanis Club, helped organize the event.

“We decided to go back to Tomasello’s Winery … we’re going to have our 100th anniversary at Tomasello’s on May 24 this year,” said Schenk.

The event will host the two clubs, as well as other guests.

“We’re going to invite the governor of Kiwanis New Jersey district, and we’re also going to ask the district secretary and a few other dignitaries in Kiwanis. We have a couple people from International Kiwanis Center … we’re having some dignitaries from international,” Schenk said.

Dan Bachalis (right) was the guest speaker during a meeting in 2017. Bachalis is pictured with the 2017 Kiwanis Club President Bob Schenk. (Courtesy Photo)

All other Kiwanis clubs across New Jersey are welcome to join the event.

“We also invited all the Kiwanis clubs in New Jersey, and approximately 75-80 clubs in New Jersey … we invited the people in other districts to come,” Schenk said.

The Kiwanis Club is focused around children, and the club’s intent is to help in any way they can. The club also is partnered with different clubs for younger ages.

“Kiwanis International was formed in 1915, in Detroit, Michigan … we’re all about children … Kiwanis consists of Kiwanis … Circle K is in universities and college, and then we have the Key Club in the high schools, and then we have the builder’s club in the elementary schools … it’s all related to Kiwanis. We’ve been sponsoring a Key Club in Hammonton High School since the early ‘50s … Kiwanis was chartered in Hammonton in 1922, and we were sponsored by the Atlantic City Club, since then the Atlantic City Club closed … Egg Harbor City is also 100 years old, so Egg Harbor City is going to join us … and dinner is going to be Hammonton Kiwanis Club, and Egg Harbor City,” Schenk said.

The Kiwanis Club started in Detroit in 1915, eventually making its way to New Jersey.

“First meeting was held at the Jackson house in 1922, sponsored by the Atlantic City Country Club,” Schenk said.

The name Kiwanis was coined from an American Indian expression, meaning “we trade,” according to The motto of Kiwanis was “we build,” until it was changed in 2005 to “serving the children of the world.” The goal of the club is to help children thrive, and to help them along their journey. The Kiwanis Club is international, and they have clubs in around 80 different countries, Schenk said.

The Hammonton Kiwanis Club has hosted the town’s annual Halloween parade for 45 years. (THG/File Photo)

The Kiwanis Club of Hammonton has been helping children and hosting events for quite a while. The club hosts the infamous Halloween parade in Hammonton, along with other events.

“We do a lot of things, we have a scholarship … We have an annual Christmas party for needy children, and we’ve been doing that for … as long as I can remember … We’ve also been doing the Halloween Parade for 45 years … this year will be our 46th annual Halloween parade,” Schenk said.

At the 100th year event, there will be the annual limited raffle.

“We sell 300 tickets, $100 a piece, and it’s a 50/50. We’re going to have the drawing that evening … giving $15,000 away. That’s one of our big fundraisers,” Schenk said.


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