Kiwanis pancake supper helps projects and people

Who knew that the idea of "breakfast for supper" would one day prove to be a successful local fundraiser to help area programs and children? Apparently, the Sweetwater Kiwanis Club did.PancakesThe local civic group is once again gearing up for their annual Pancake Supper on Friday night, November 2, 2012 at the Sweetwater High School cafeteria. The fundraiser will be held before the final home game--Senior Night, when the Sweetwater Mustangs take on the Monahans Loboes at the Mustang Bowl. The dinner will start at 4:30 p.m. and run until kick-off at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for anyone over 13 years of age and $6 for children 12 years and under. They will also be offering a special group rate for anyone who buys 10 or more tickets. Adult tickets will then cost $7, while kids' tickets will be $5 each. Tickets can be purchased in advance from any Kiwanis member or at the door on Friday night the 2nd.Leading up to the event, the Kiwanis club has spent a significant amount of time solidifying various aspects of the event, from set-up, promotions, outreach and other preparations. Once again, they're gaining support for the event from local sponsors as well as businesses beyond the city limits to ensure the event's success. Fuller Foods in Colorado City will be donating the ham and bacon, while IHOP (International House of Pancakes) in Abilene will be providing the pancake batter along with regular and sugar-free syrup. In addition, Brookshire's in Sweetwater will be donating a $50 gift card toward the supper.The Kiwanis Club members extend a personal invitation for everyone to join them for the pancake supper. The money made from the fundraiser will be used to support the wide variety of projects and initiatives led by the Kiwanis Club.ProjectsBut when the local Kiwanis Club members aren't heading up the pancake supper, the second-most recognized project within the community is Star Search, the local talent show. This year, the project will be celebrating its 22nd year of promoting local talent.Students within the Sweetwater school district have the chance to compete at their school, with the top winners advancing to the final round of competition held in January at the Sweetwater High School. Before the night is over, the top three winners are announced for the Elementary, Intermediate, Middle School and High School divisions.But the support from the Kiwanis Club doesn't stop there. The ticket sales from the talent show are then given back to Sweetwater ISD (Independent School District), notably the "A's 'R Us" campaign that recognizes students in each Sweetwater campus who achieve all-A grades throughout the entire school year.Even the smallest of children benefit from the Kiwanis Club. For the past couple of years, they have partnered with the office of Dr. Gilbert Carreon, a local dentist, to provide free dental screenings for pre-kindergarten students at J.P. Cowen.Prior to the screening, the students watched an informative video on brushing their teeth, while they also received a small gift of their own toothbrushes and a tube of toothpaste.And their support of area students doesn't end when the school bells usher in the start of summer. The Kiwanis Club joined forces with Pappy's Bait and Grill Shop and held a kids fishing tournament this past June at Lake Sweetwater for a family-fun event.Furthermore, to kick-off the incoming school year, the Kiwanis Club once again hosted a free, pre-teen swim day at the city pool and provided swimmers with school supplies.The group also assists local sporting venues, such as offering a donation to the Sweetwater little league all-star team as they competed in their playoffs. But this year's latest project during the Sammy Baugh classic allowed for the Kiwanis Club to partner with the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce, Sweetwater ISD and the Children's Miracle Network by passing around helping cans during three of the four games held at the Mustang Bowl. Over $3,000 was raised to help the Hendrick Children's Hospital and their new play room used by children receiving specialized medical care at the facility.Other past projects headed by the Kiwanis Club have been the August FunFest, Child Abuse Awareness initiatives, the Newman Park Disc Golf and the B.U.G. (Bringing Up Grades) program at Sweetwater Intermediate School, which awards students for improving their grades in any subject. They also hold an annual Christmas party for area MHMR clients, where Santa Claus stops by and entertainment is provided by the Sweetwater Municipal Band. Additionally, they set up a booth at the Sweetwater Jaycees World's Largest Rattlesnake Round-up each year.PeopleThe first Kiwanis Club was established in Detroit, Michigan in 1915; a year later, the organization became international by setting up a club in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Since 1946, the Sweetwater Kiwanis Club has followed their concept of helping one community, one child at a time in their service.Additionally, the club is always looking for new members and currently has over 20 active members. Past president Bill Haley has been with the Kiwanis club for around 55 years and has seen the numerous ways the group has partnered with local organizations in their main effort of reaching out to kids.Current officers of the Kiwanis Club are Mitch Moore, president; Jerrie Gee, vice president; Rachel Newberry, secretary; and Mark Garcia, treasurer. The Kiwanis Club's board of directors include Dale Adams, Sammy Alvarez, Warren Crawford, Lise Guelker, Welton Guelker, Nancy Howlett, and Chris Stephens.Every Wednesday at noon, the Kiwanis Club gathers at Bee's Lunch Bucket in downtown Sweetwater for their weekly meeting. During that time, various members will bring programs for the members to learn more about the community they serve.In the past year, they have been able to learn more about various businesses--such as the Hoyt House and the Sweetwater Reporter, and meet new faces in the community. Sometimes, the presentations are more relaxed, like when a local Tejano music group, Thoze Guyz, performed for the club before heading to a national music convention. And coincidentally, the band started playing together as fifth graders in Star Search. The full-circle journey for Thoze Guyz--and countless others--is proof that the Kiwanis Club is, in fact, making a difference in lives.