Do you need some additional kitchen utensils, an inexpensive second bicycle, some lightly used furniture for that extra bedroom, a couple of fresh blouses? Or maybe you need to find a new home for your old dishes, a replaced bedroom set, or your old clock. Look no further than the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor! A part of Kiwanis International and organized locally in 1921, this dynamic organization has grown from its original 60 members who held a sale once a year to the current 176 members and over 100 volunteers who accept, sort, clean, repair, and price donations of all kinds and put them out for their weekly sale. Kiwanis has two locations. The first, the Kiwanis Activities Center at the corner of S. First Street and W. Washington Street, sells clothes, toys, and electronics among other things and is open Saturdays 9 – 12 AM. The Kiwanis Thrift Sale West at 100 N. Staebler Road at Jackson Road, is open Friday and Saturday 10 AM – 1 PM, and sells furniture and other large items. For more information about making donations or attending sales, call 734-665-0450 or visit www.a2kiwanis.org online.
To get a better idea of the scope and contents of the sale, I decided to visit the downtown location where I was led around by longtime Kiwanis volunteer, Bill Hallock. Soon I was meeting a veritable army of volunteers as they accepted and prepared luggage, glassware, toys, sewing equipment, and clothes for their Saturday sale. Some of these worker bees have been volunteering for as long as 45 years. Bill and three of his fellow helpers have been friends since high school. With $250,000 in grants of money or goods a year to local charitable causes, the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor attracts a loyal cadre of dedicated workers while shoppers delight in their unexpected finds and economical purchases. Kiwanis is truly a treasure!
The primary focus of the Kiwanis Club’s philanthropy is to serve the needs of children. They have service clubs for high school and college students as well as for adults living with disabilities. Their “Eliminate Project”, in partnership with UNICEF, aims to rid the world of maternal and neonatal tetanus, a devastating scourge that is easily avoided through vaccination.
When I asked Bill what had been most meaningful about his work with Kiwanis, he said how much he enjoyed seeing the delight people showed over even their small purchases. “Little things mean a lot to everybody.”