Teacher, Joanna Sliwka said “The Kiwanis have given support to Manatee for many years. They support us in reading as well as at Christmas. What a wonderful group.” Logan Rhodes, student, at Manatee Elementary School commented “I think it’s really cool because I like everything I get and I always play with everything I get.”
Principal, Wendy Crawford, stated “The Kiwanis Club of Marco Island is “leading the way” in making the holiday season special at Manatee Elementary School. Each child at Manatee received a special gift from the Kiwanis.
Their generosity to the community is not only evident during the holidays but is an on-going experience throughout the year. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of our students.”
The toy distribution at the school went smoothly with the help of Santa and Mrs.Claus. Mrs. Claus commented “It’s a very meaningful and humbling experience. We thank the Kiwanis and their volunteers for the tremendous effort for this huge undertaking. The “oooh’s” and “ahhh’s” tell it all and certainly warm our hearts. It makes us feel Manatee School is in good hands. Merry Christmas and God bless you.”
In addition to providing gifts for the children at Manatee Elementary School, the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island also provided gifts to the Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Bedtime Bundles, gift certificates to Marco Island Charter School and Tommie Barfield Elementary School, needy families in the area, a toy distribution spearheaded by Cindy Pierce from Prout’s Plumbing for children attending Marco Island schools and the East Naples Fire Department toy drive program.
In order for the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island to be able to make the holiday season special to the children of our area, donations were made by many area businesses and business people. To name a few,Melissa Walker of Skin Renewal Systems and Chadd Chustz of Island Trends ran their own separate fund raisers donating proceeds to the Toys for Kids project. A heart-felt thank you goes out from the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island to all the businesses and people that donated money and purchased raffle tickets to make this project a great success.
This year’s project was chaired by Dan and Mary Benedict. They were assisted by new Kiwanis members, Doug and Julie Klooz. Working feverishly since the beginning of November, these two couples put together the raffle of the bicycle and 50/50 which took place on Wednesday, December 22, 2010, at the Farmers Market. They distributed boxes and collected the donations with the help of fellow committee members. It was a group effort to make this holiday season a good one for many children that would otherwise not receive gifts. The community and the Kiwanis Club of Marco Island made sure that the children in our area had a very Merry Christmas.