(Posted July 28, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
For a long, long time, the London Kiwanis Club has operated a footlong hotdog stand at the Madison County Fair with proceeds going to the many charitable causes the club supports. Thanks to a shift in purpose, the stand now benefits one specific cause–sending youngsters to 4-H summer camp.
“Over the winter, the club decided to donate all net profits from the footlong hotdog stand to the Madison County 4-H Advisory Committee to help with costs to send kids to 4-H Camp Clifton,” explained Stephanie Mack, Kiwanis Club secretary.
The club had come to a fork in the road in how they viewed the stand, she said. The group holds a variety of fundraisers through the year to support their mission–to improve the world one child and one community at a time. Those efforts generate a good bit more money than the hotdog stand does and don’t require nearly as much time. The stand is a 12-hour daily commitment the eight days of the fair.
Club members didn’t want to give up the stand because it provides good exposure for the club, Mack said. Plus, the Kiwanis are the only local civic organization still serving food at the fair.
“This is our opportunity to be in front of the community and actually serving the community,” Mack said.
So, in January, she presented to her fellow Kiwanians the idea of putting all of the stand’s proceeds back into the fair and inviting volunteers from outside the club to help operate the stand.
“With the Kiwanis Club, we’re all about youth. It goes along with the 4-H mission which is ‘to provide meaningful opportunities for all youth and adults to work together to create sustainable community change,’ ” Mack said.
With the shift made, the Kiwanis donated $1,500, the net profits from the 2021 hotdog sales, to the 4-H Advisory Committee to help offset the cost for area children to attend 4-H Camp Clifton this year. The camp costs approximately $250 to attend and takes place a few weeks before the fair. The committee awards needs-based scholarships to children to partially cover that fee. The committee also offsets the camp costs for teen counselors.
Mack is happy to report the Kiwanis will be donating a little over $3,000 from this year’s fair, which ran July 9-16, for next year’s 4-H campers. Sales of footlongs and the club’s specialty menu item, the Mad Dog (a quarter-pound hotdog wrapped in bacon, deep-fried, and topped with cheese sauce), were way up.
“I’m sure a variety of things contributed to the increase in sales. One thing we know for sure is that a lot of parents came by to thank us for giving the money back to the kids,” Mack said.
Frances Foos, Madison County’s 4-H Extension educator, said the Kiwanis donations allow the 4-H Advisory Committee to give out more camp scholarships and cover more camp counselor fees.
“It’s been a really great connection. They wanted to make the hotdog stand more worth their time and wanted a direct cause. That aligned with our needs. It’s a great partnership, and I appreciate that they thought of us,” Foos said.
The Kiwanis are thrilled not only with the money raised at this year’s fair but also with the number of people from outside the club who stepped up to help man the stand. Many of them were students in grades 8-12 from the London and Madison-Plains school districts looking to fulfill community service requirements for graduation or simply to get some work experience.
“Considering the stand’s success and the amount of support we received this year, I anticipate we will be doing it again next year,” Mack said.
The London Kiwanis Club’s other charitable efforts and events include hosting an Easter egg hunt at Cowling Park in London, hosting the BBQ Boogie 5K at the London Rhythm & Rib Fest, donating the candy the London Police Department hands out at Halloween, and packing approximately 150 backpacks with school supplies to hand out to children through the HELP House.
Each year, the club presents scholarships to graduating seniors from London and Madison-Plains. This year, those donations amounted to a total of $6,000. The group recently donated $1,800 for materials to build little libraries. They also regularly donate to Rockin’ on the Run, the London Area Baseball Council, and Madison County Special Olympics, among others.
The club currently has 24 members. The group meets at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of each month at the London Country Club. Anyone interested in becoming a member can reach out by sending a message through Facebook (London Ohio Kiwanis) or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current officers are: Satch Davison, president; Mitch Finney, president-elect; Stephanie Mack, secretary; and Steve Adams, treasurer.