The Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club (www.biscaynebaykiwanis.org), one of South Florida’s most active community service organizations, recently distributed backpacks containing one week’s school uniforms, school supplies, and lunch boxes to 100 inner-city children from five different elementary schools.
Children from Maya Angelou, Santa Clara, Eneida M. Hartner, Phillis Wheatley and Frederick Douglass elementary schools have each received five uniform polo shirts and three pairs of slacks or shorts — as well as a wide variety of school supplies — stuffed in a brand new backpack. This is the 13th year the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club has conducted a back-to-school project for homeless and disadvantaged children.
This year the club also supplied the backpacks to 25 homeless children not affiliated with its partner schools. In total, Biscayne Bay Kiwanis provided more than $10,000 worth of items with this annual project.
The week before the giveaway, members of the club — now celebrating its 67th year — and other volunteers gathered at Neat Stuff, 2624 NW 21 St., to “stuff” the backpacks with the school uniforms. The distribution followed the next week.
“This is one of our signature community service projects,” said Carmen Calzon, the club’s incoming president. “Being able to help disadvantaged kids — many of which are homeless — start the school year off on an even footing with their classmates is so important in bolstering their self esteem and confidence. Over the years we have seen that having the proper clothes and supplies encourages the kids to stay in school.”
Since its founding in 1950, the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club — an all-volunteer service organization of professional men and women based in Downtown Miami — has improved the lives of disadvantaged children in Overtown, Allapattah, and Midtown Miami through educational programs, field trips, and hands-on service projects.
The 67-year-old club’s very successful programs include an in-school reading program to help second graders pass the EOY (End of Year) Exam, funding of summer swim lessons, lessons in etiquette, civics, and life skills, Thanksgiving meal giveaways to inner city families and guided tours/field trips to Everglades National Park and South Florida museums.
During the past five years the BBKC has awarded more than $180,000 in scholarships throughout Miami-Dade County, including full, four-year college scholarships to deserving Booker T. Washington seniors.
For more information on the Biscayne Bay Kiwanis Club, send email to Biscaynebaykiwanis@gmail.com or phone/text to 305-814-2225.