MASSENA It was a good run while it lasted, but the president of the Massena Kiwanis Club reports the club doesnt have the manpower to keep the organization alive.
As a result, Coleman Guimond said the Kiwanis Club will cease to exist once they distribute the remainder of their donations.
I cant get any members; I cant get any help. Im locking the door on it. Weve all done everything for 50 or 60 years, and we just cant do it anymore. Theres no more manpower, Mr. Guimond said.
The club was formed in 1956 and once had a healthy membership that was active in the community. But now its down to 13 people, according to Mr. Guimond.
Ive seen clubs operate with 13 guys. My guys are running 65 to 85 years old. Weve done everything. Weve worked our butts off since 1956, he said.
The problem, Mr. Guimond said, is finding new, younger members to keep the club going.
Its just not working, he said.
Before closing the clubs doors, though, Mr. Guimond said he has donations to distribute. Among their donations was $1,500 to Back the Pack, a volunteer organization that provides healthy weekend snacks to students in Massenas elementary schools.
We made a major donation to Back the Pack. We made a board decision on that a month ago, he said.
Theyve also made a large donation to the Massena Boys and Girls Club, which hopes to open its doors in May 2014, as well as Massena Memorial Hospital and a scholarship fund. They also contributed financially to the annual Easter egg hunt at the Massena Community Center, according to the club president.
I havent had a fundraiser in two-and-a-half years, and Im still giving money away. The bottom line is to close the club we have to go broke, and were still not broke, Mr. Guimond said.
The Boys and Girls Club took a big chunk. The nice part about it is, its for children, which is our focus. Their focus is children, he said.
Some of their money was raised through annual garage sales, but the club hasnt held one of those recently, according to the club president.
It also held a golf tournament to raise more funds.
We did good with that. But we cant even get enough people to run a tournament, he said.
Kiwanis also had taken part in handing out trees to elementary students for Arbor Day. Mr. Guimond said Kiwanis would distribute thousands of trees a year.
That isnt going to be in the can though. We have a new lieutenant governor out of Watertown. Shes actually going to try to start a new club in Massena. In October Im bringing her all the information shes going to need for Arbor Day, he said.
A lack of members is a problem being felt by many service clubs, Mr. Guimond said, but from the Kiwanis Clubs perspective, they just cant keep going with their current numbers.
The 40- and 50-year-olds dont have time for this. Their kids are in school and college and its expensive, he said.
But its been a good run while it lasted, he said.
I know weve done a lot of good for the community, and theyve been good to us, Mr. Guimond said.