CHIPLEY – Kiwanis International has been striving to make a difference in the life of children for over 100 years and the Chipley chapter of the organization is no different.

Since 1941, Chipley Kiwanis has been a civic community minded organization that hosts several fundraisers throughout the year in order to serve the children in the community.

Fundraising efforts include the annual pancake supper, gourmet nuts sale, and annual golf tournament. These fundraisers allow the club to collect about $28,000 a year in donations.

Whether it is providing scholarships to graduating seniors, donating funds to the local library to purchase books for their summer read program, supplying gifts for Santa to hand out to local headstart students or donating funds to school clubs to aid in travel expenses, Chipley Kiwanis aims to help in any way they can.

President LaMerle Feitsma has been a member of the chapter for 16 years and has held every office at least once. Feitsma says she joined Kiwanis because she wanted to give back to others.

“I raised four kids in this community,” said Feitsma. “I know how the community helps to raise them. They helped us out a lot. Now I want to give back to the kids that need help too.”

Feitsma says the club is about community.

“It’s all about community,” said Feitsma. “We want to make our community a better place to live, work and have fun.”

Like many older organizations, membership is mostly held by the older generations and Chipley Kiwanis is no exception. The need for younger members is greatly felt and acknowledged. A satellite club has been started in order to give more opportunity for the younger generation to join. While weekly meetings are held Tuesday’s at noon at Patillos at the Florida Panhandle Technical College, some find it difficult to attend during their work day. By having the satellite club meet on the third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Skins and Bubbas, it allows more people the opportunity to be a part of the organization.

The hope is not only to gain more members but to also have some fresh ideas for fundraising to be brought by new members.

The gourmet nut fundraiser is currently happening. The nuts can be purchased for $20 at the following places : Community South Credit Union, Chipley Gun & Pawn, Capitol City Bank and One South Bank.

The annual Pancake Supper will be held on December 6 at Kate M. Smith Elementary School 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Chipley Gun and Pawn, Community South Credit Union, One South Bank, Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Washington County News.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets can also be purchased at the door. For more information call 850-260-6863.

For anyone interested in giving back to their community and would like to join the Chipley Kiwanis, you are invited to attend either of the meeting listed above for an application and to enjoy a meal.