The Baldwin Kiwanis Club has been going strong since its founding in 1955, living out its motto to be a “global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time.”
Whitey Berger has been a part of that effort since 1970, when he joined the Baldwin club. In spite of being a cancer sufferer for several years, Berger continues to serve the club in an active way.
“We give a lot of gifts out at Christmas time,” Berger said. “I go to the different churches to find out who needs help.”
This past Christmas, the club handed out $3,000 in food certificates to needy families, Berger said.
“I’ll put it this way: The Kiwanis Club is an organization that helps people in need,” Berger said, explaining the variety of ways that the club has contributed funds. One such occasion was when a large fire caused damage in nearby Clairton. “One of the men in the explosion lives in . We helped him out.”
At the Baldwin Kiwanis Club’s 37th Annual Monte Carlo Night, held at the on Saturday, Berger and his wife, Cletis, greeted patrons at the door.
“It’s always been a successful event,” Berger said. “Today, we only have 10 members in the club, but all the families come together to make it happen.”
And several family members could be seen working the event. Kiwanis member Ron Burger, for example, had his family involved.
“I’m the third generation,” said Burger’s granddaughter, Candice Gentile. “We actually have four here.”
“We even get the husbands involved,” Burger added.
“Doing this for dad is the favorite part,” said Carol Haberman, Burger’s daughter.
The Monte Carlo event featured a meal, horse racing, a silent auction and raffles.
Money raised at the event goes to the many charities that the Baldwin Kiwanis club supports, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children and the , and for Christmas gifts for needy children.
“We all have a ‘Kiwanis moment,’” said Chet Maciejewski, president of the Baldwin Kiwanis Club, “a time when something you did touched you.”
For Maciejewski, that came when he was handing out gifts to needy children at Christmas time. Maciejewski joined the Kiwanis Club in 1997, soon after he had purchased an entertainment book from the club.
“It listed all the charities they support,” he said. “It was a time in my life when I had the time to get involved.”
While the club primarily provides funding for charities, it is also directly involved in community services, such as the telephone story line.
“Children can call in and listen to a story,” Burger explained. “We change the story each week.”
The club’s next event is a golf outing in June aimed specifically at raising funds for charities for the blind.
The Kiwanis Club meets every Wednesday night at 6:30 at the Leland Point Community Center for a meal and a meeting.
“We’re always looking for new members,” Burger said. “We also partner with the Baldwin Women’s Club () on a lot of things.”
If you are in need of support or would like to help the Kiwanis Club in its efforts, you are welcome to call Chet Maciejewski at 412-884-3726 or Ron Burger at 412-818-5466.