- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) - The shoes were stacked on a table, camo high-tops mixed among twinkling pink princess sneakers - more than 100 new pairs.

The 100 is significant and will be for the next year for the Columbus Meridian Kiwanis Club.

Club members are celebrating the centennial of Kiwanis by performing 100 acts of kindness every month around Columbus.

In October, it was 100 flu shots and healthy treats provided at Heritage House.

In November, it was 100 pieces of pumpkin pie delivered to city workers, police officers and firefighters.

For December, Meridian Kiwanis Club members purchased children’s shoes and brought them to their Christmas club meeting Dec. 18 at the Elks Club, when it was time to give them away.

“We talk about doing good deeds, and then we go out and do them,” said Rick Siefert, president of the Meridian Kiwanis Club. “This is 100 acts of kindness for kids’ feet.”

After the club’s meeting, the 100 pairs were put into bags and driven to Sans Souci, where workers placed them in carts to be organized for the agency’s free-assistance clients.

The shoes will be given away at no charge, Erika Hefler, Sans Souci assistant director, told The Republic (https://bit.ly/1x7tIES ).

Some of the first parents to select shoes for their children planned to wrap them up as a Christmas gift, Hefler said.

“We see children who have never had new shoes before,” she said.

Mary Ellen Wyman, who has been a Meridian Kiwanis Club member for about 18 years, suggested the idea to Siefert as an extension of First Lutheran Church’s annual shoe drive to help Sans Souci clients.

The church learned from Sans Souci that many Columbus kids from economically disadvantaged families need three things - new socks, underwear and shoes.

By partnering with the Kiwanis club, the church was able to increase the number of new children’s shoes being donated to Sans Souci this year, and the Kiwanis found the perfect fit for its 100 initiative, Wyman said.

Kiwanis International adopted the motto of “Serving the Children of the World” in the 1920s and has continued to keep children at the center of its giving efforts, Siefert said.

The club sponsors Key Club at Hauser, Columbus East and Columbus North high schools to encourage teens to commit to community service. It sponsors the Columbus Aktion Club for mentally or physically challenged adults and supports efforts for literacy, speech therapy and Riley Hospital for Children.

Kiwanis sponsors the Duck Splash at Mill Race Park to benefit as many as 28 nonprofit youth organizations, giving away 80 percent of the proceeds to the youth organizations for their programming. Kiwanis members pick up day-old products at Panera Bread and deliver them to Love Chapel and did bell-ringing for The Salvation Army last weekend.

All that is in addition to the 100 Project, which members will take on each month through September.

Some of the ideas being considered are new socks and underwear for kids for back-to-school and 100 quarters being handed out at area laundromats for a free wash and dry from the club.

Kiwanian Dave Ransdell said doing projects club members dream up for the 100 Project is turning into a lot of fun.

And figuring out which children’s shoes to buy wasn’t too difficult, he said.

“I have grandchildren. I wasn’t a rookie in that department,” the retired salesman from Tobar Inc. said.

“Doing this is its own reward,” he said. “And it’s good to do this around this time of year.”


Information from: The Republic, https://www.therepublic.com/

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