Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Kiwanis Club of Liverpool is hoping this year it will be able to hold a fitting celebration of its longstanding commitment to helping those in the community who are in need.
The club, which was established Dec. 2, 1930 and is renowned for its annual Community Christmas Concert, celebrated its 90th anniversary virtually last year because of COVID-19 health protocols.
This year, the Christmas event, one of the club's largest fundraising activities and which features local singers and musicians, will be a live performance at the Astor Theatre in Liverpool Dec. 5 starting at 7 p.m.
Money raised goes to the club, which in turn, puts the money back into the community and for its residents in need.
Lorraine (Cookie) Trainor, the club's secretary, has been helping organize the event for the past 25 years. Although the event won't feature any choirs this year because of COVID-19 regulations, she says the line-up will make it well worth checking out.
"We start out with the Mersey Band, who have been doing that for a number of years," she said. "Then what I try to do is get as many children involved as I can. We are going to have a lot of piano and vocal solos this year and once again local John Wiles is our emcee."
Tickets for the event may be purchased at the Astor Theatre Box office. Attendees are asked to bring an item for the food bank on the night of the concert.
Trainor said the local club has three underlying priorities: children, the food bank and the Christmas concert.
Along with the concert, the club raises money and collects products through its popular hot dog and hamburger stand that can be seen at many events around Liverpool each summer, including at the annual Privateer Days.
The club raises about $13,000 each year, much of which is distributed to children and youth and the food bank.
Some of their undertakings include filling up stockings for Christmas and birthday gifts to children whose families use the food bank. Contributions also go toward high school scholarships, the Queens County Music Festival and sending children to summer camp.
The Kiwanis also hosts a Christmas tree canned goods food drive with help from the Five Girls Baking on Liverpool's Main Street. The drive runs from Nov. 14 to Dec. 20 each year. Canned goods can be dropped off at the bakery and Kiwanis members build the cans into a tree for display in the bakery's front window.
Last year, 750 cans of goods were collected. This year the goal is 1,000.
The Kiwanis Club of Liverpool currently consists of 16 members, significantly down from the height of 40 members the club reached in the past.
The current president of the club is Dave Schofield, president-elect is Amy Oliver, Ted Bulley is treasurer, the secretary is Lorraine Trainor and the past president is Bruce Inglis.
Included in this year's celebrations will be the club's annual Christmas supper, which also was cancelled last year.