LIVINGSTON, NJ — Despite facing some challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the cancellation of Livingston’s annual Kiwanis Karnival and other significant events such as the 4th of July Swim Carnival and the Memorial Day Parade, the Livingston Kiwanis Club has continued its mission to support the needs of the Livingston community through various COVID-19-safe activities.

Over the last 10 months, Livingston Kiwanis was able to provide pandemic support to several local organizations, including Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SBMC) by donating iPads and baby monitors to patients in quarantine to help them connect with loved ones, delivering meals to hospital workers during their late shifts and providing $700 in COVID-19 relief; the West Essex YMCA by donating thousands of dollars in cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) in support of the Y’s efforts to provide childcare for first responders; and Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors (LNHN) by donating the $3,000 in proceeds from a socially distanced golf outing held in August.

Kiwanis also partnered with Livingston Knights of Columbus and Livingston UNICO to provide Thanksgiving meals for nearly 50 families in November as well as with Livingston restaurants to deliver food directly to the local food banks that had low food supplies due to the pandemic.

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Among the organization’s most notable accomplishments unrelated to the pandemic in 2020, Livingston Kiwanis has provided nearly $10,000 in scholarships to students from Livingston and neighboring communities; painted a playground map of the USA and New Jersey at Riker Hill Elementary School; provided financial support to the YMCA Piranhas swim team and the Friendship Circle; pre-purchased ads for the West Essex Tribune during a time of financial struggle; supplied, assembled and delivered hundreds of personal care kits to the local homeless shelters; funded $1,300 to help first responders publish street directories; and assisted with set up of the Camuso Holiday Display at the Memorial Oval.

Additionally, although meetings are currently being held virtually via Zoom due to the pandemic, Livingston Kiwanis has hosted several notable speakers over the last 10 months, including representatives from the Livingston Historical Society, Livingston Public Library, Livingston Boy and Girl Scouts, Livingston Chinese Association, Livingston League of Women Voters, Livingston High School Key Club, Heritage Middle School Builders Club, the local Census committee, West Essex YMCA, Livingston Neighbors helping Neighbors, East Hanover Train Museum, Eva's Village shelter and educational center in Paterson and Tim Tebow Night to Shine Prom for special needs citizens.

Due to the cancellation the club’s largest annual fundraiser as well as the increase in support provided to Livingston Neighbors Helping Neighbors, the West Essex YMCA and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in 2020, Livingston Kiwanis has needed to tap into its emergency funds in recent months. Like many organizations and businesses in town, however, members of Kiwanis are “committed to finding alternate revenue sources or managing cost-saving measures to meet community needs.”

In addition to bringing back the Kiwanis Karnival in the spring if the pandemic permits, Livingston Kiwanis also hopes to maintain and grow its active membership while also continuing to support the many local organizations that have come to depend on it.

Just in the last week, Livingston Kiwanis participated in the township’s MLK Day of Service by presenting a virtual slide show and collecting travel-sized hygiene and also hosted its annual induction for the Livingston High School Key Club. The club, sponsored by Livingston Kiwanis, is one of many ways that the organization provides opportunities for local youth to participate in community service activities, leadership training and fellowship with other students across the state and country.

Kiwanis Vice President Bridgette Nevola and sub-committees have also planned a series of programs and events that include making meals for families in need in the coming weeks in conjunction with LNHN and local soup kitchens and participating as a team in the 2021 Cycle for Survival cancer fundraiser being held virtually and in person in May. Community members can sign up or donate now BY CLICKING HERE.

Currently joining Nevola on the board for the Livingston Kiwanis Club are president Lance Rogers, president-elect, Rich Cornell, immediate past president Ken Nevola, treasurer Rudy Fernandez and secretary Mike Pollack.

The Kiwanis Club is a co-ed, non-political, non-denominational, international service organization. For more information or to learn how to become involved in the Livingston chapter, contact membership chair Gaby Vieira at info@livingstonkiwanis.org or by visiting https://www.livingstonkiwanis.org.

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