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Massena Kiwanis Club closing its doors


MASSENA — It was a good run while it lasted, but the president of the Massena Kiwanis Club reports the club doesn’t 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 can’t get any members; I can’t get any help. I’m locking the door on it. We’ve all done everything for 50 or 60 years, and we just can’t do it anymore. There’s 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 it’s down to 13 people, according to Mr. Guimond.

“I’ve seen clubs operate with 13 guys. My guys are running 65 to 85 years old. We’ve done everything. We’ve worked our butts off since 1956,” he said.

The problem, Mr. Guimond said, is finding new, younger members to keep the club going.

“It’s just not working,” he said.

Before closing the club’s 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 Massena’s elementary schools.

“We made a major donation to Back the Pack. We made a board decision on that a month ago,” he said.

They’ve 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 haven’t had a fundraiser in two-and-a-half years, and I’m still giving money away. The bottom line is to close the club we have to go broke, and we’re still not broke,” Mr. Guimond said.

“The Boys and Girls Club took a big chunk. The nice part about it is, it’s 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 hasn’t 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 can’t 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 isn’t going to be in the can though. We have a new lieutenant governor out of Watertown. She’s actually going to try to start a new club in Massena. In October I’m bringing her all the information she’s 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 Club’s perspective, they just can’t keep going with their current numbers.

“The 40- and 50-year-olds don’t have time for this. Their kids are in school and college and it’s expensive,” he said.

But it’s been a good run while it lasted, he said.

“I know we’ve done a lot of good for the community, and they’ve been good to us,” Mr. Guimond said.

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