As one of our club’s two annual signature projects we treated the children from Lehigh Valley Children’s Centers (LVCC) for a picnic at the Allentown Rose Garden pavilions. The picnic was another huge success! Once again this year, we were blessed with sunny skies. True, it was a very warm day for mid-May, but there was a bit of a breeze in the air, lots of shade around the pavilions, and plenty of water stations for the children and volunteers.
Before the children arrived, volunteers from our club helped set up the game stations, cover the picnictables, tie balloons around the two pavilions, and much more. Early volunteers included Keith Reynolds (and his wife Jessica, his sons, and other family members), Tom Harp, Enos Martin, Deirdre Govan, Eleana Belletieri, and Deb Lamb. Later, Todd Siegfried and Rich Peterson joined us to help with food prep. Other members from our club, Katie Hutchinson and Mary DiFebo arrived with their Key Club volunteers. Cathy Kane from the Allentown NE Kiwanis Club stopped by to help out.
As early as 9:30 AM children from one of four LVCC centers began arriving. As each bus pulled up, dozens of happy, anxious pre-school kids poured out in their distinctive classroom colors. They wore t-shirts especially designed by LVCC for the picnic, with the Kiwanis logo proudly printed along with the LVCC logo. The colorful shirts added to the festivities. We had around 50 volunteers from the Emmaus, Parkland, Salisbury, Allentown Central Catholic and William Allen High School Key Clubs. Most of them spent the morning out in the field assisting with the many activity stations that included obstacle courses, soccer, t-ball, bubbles, a parachute game, and a craft station where the children painted their own flower pots.And during the event, the children were thrilled when FeRROUS, the LV IronPigs mascot showed up!
For the first time this year, we invited LVCC’s Union Boulevard Center to the picnic, raising the total number of children to 235! We had nearly 100 helpers, including the Key Clubs, Kiwanians, and LVCC staff. We certainly needed them all to wrangle the small children and to move them around the field course.
When activities were over, we served the children a picnic lunch. It included hot dogs, prepared by Executive Chef Rich and his Sous Chef Todd, chips, fruit snacks, cookies and box drinks. The children were definitely hungry after the field events. They were tired, but happy as could be.
It made our day seeing them return to their busses with bright smiles on their faces. This was a fabulous event and an amazing demonstration of teamwork, orchestrated by Keith and Jessica Reynolds. They are the driving force behind the event and we are grateful for their time, effort, and sponsorship of the picnic. After the children left and we finished cleaning up, President Tom presented Jessica with an Allentown Kiwanis Club polo shirt, declaring her to be an “Honorary Member” of our club! She certainly deserves this recognition. It was a memorable day, and a great day to serve as a member of the Kiwanis Club of Allentown!