Winamac Kiwanis Club

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Winamac Kiwanis Club: Meal History with United Methodist Women -  c.1925 to

It is with a great deal of humble devotion that we say goodbye to the organization that has fed us for decades. On Tuesday, May 29, the United Methodist Women served us for the last time. While we will continue to meet at the Church, our meals will be provided by someone else. This history of the Women’s service to Kiwanis, and, by extension, to the community. This history was compiled by Karen Fritz.

The Winamac Kiwanis Club was formed in October 1921, and in
its first years met at the Christian Church Annex. About 1925 the club meetings
were moved to the First United Methodist Church, and the meals were prepared
and served by the church’s Ladies’ Aid Societies (now known as the United
Methodist Women). The proceeds from this project have contributed significantly
to the church’s financial needs over the decades.

Notes referring to Kiwanis Club taken from a 1982 history of the Women’s Organizations of the First United Methodist Church:

  • On December 14, 192?, Mrs. John Miller gave the (church) treasurer $17.06 taken in at the Kiwanis luncheon.
  • December 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed … we very soon began to feel the crunch of the war. In those days we just never served a Kiwanis dinner without pie and the church was only allowed 25 pounds of sugar a month. A motion was made by Clara Barr and seconded by Florence McCaskey that each Kiwanis Chairman collect 1/2-cup sugar from each member of her committee. We were still able to serve pie.
  • In April of 1943 there was a discussion as to whether to continue serving the Kiwanis dinner and it was decided to do so as long as we were able to obtain food. The Kiwanians left it up to the women as to what they would serve for 50 cents per plate.
  • November of 1947, the Kiwanians volunteered to pay 80 cents per plate.
  • (From the Gleaner Circle minutes 1950s) The Kiwanis luncheons were always prepared with white tablecloths, flowers or decoration of some kind on the tables. They had matching glass flower vases for every table. There were four ladies who were very good at decorating with flowers and felt they were necessary, so much so, that they worked very diligently to grow them in their own yards so they would be available for the tables from early spring until late fall. 

On (Kiwanis) Ladies Night the dining room was always beautifully decorated. Those four ladies were Edith King, Florence McCaskey, Madesta McClure and Bernice Halleck. They also had help from Violet Skillen, Icle Zellers, Mabel Hedges and no doubt many others.

For one spring ladies night, Edith King wanted to decorate with dogwood, and knowing of a woods where a dogwood tree was in bloom, went to get some. She saw a branch that was shaped just right for the speaker’s table. She climbed on a fallen limb to reach it and fell, breaking her knee. Knowing that nobody would find her there, she crawled back through the woods to the road. Mrs. Sutton, whose woods she was in and who knew her, passed, but didn’t recognize Edith because her hair was disheveled and her clothes were a mess. Mrs. Sutton went on to town and reported the woman at the sheriff’s office and they came and rescued her. In the words of Edith’s daughter, Margaret Gordon, “the things those women did and the dedication they had were truly labors of love, because they cared.”

During 1955-57, the church was building the new educational building and kitchen. In the fall before the dedication, Ione Hall announced that plans were being made to serve Kiwanis Ladies Night in the new dining room. All committees were asked to stand by for help.

  • January 1967 the Kiwanians began paying $1.25 for the noon luncheon and $1.75 for ladies night.
  • In December of 1969 we were short chairmen for the Kiwanis committees but felt the need to continue the dinners. Zela Bonnell was engaged at $30 a week to be the chairman of all the committees; this to be renewed at the end of the year as the needs then determined. Thus, we were able to continue serving the Kiwanis dinners. Zela continued until 1975, then Betty Maxwell took her place.
  • January 1975 the Kiwanians began paying $2, with a guarantee of 50 (meals).

In June 1976 many questions came up concerning Kiwanis luncheons because of our church remodeling project. Should we discontinue serving? Could we get along without the money we make from serving the dinners? Where could we serve them during the remodeling? Would the expense of a new kitchen be wise? There was an answer to that. To serve any meal to any group, the kitchen needed to be brought up to the State Board of Health standards, and the need for new appliances was very obvious to those working in the present kitchen. One important need was met by the Catholic ladies who served the Kiwanis dinners for us.

However, during this time, we were missing the income from the dinners. Our pledge to missions and to the church budget was $600 per quarter. It was agreed to pay $200 to each pledge instead of $600, leaving it short $200. Bonnie Hiatt moved that letters be sent to all the women saying we are in need of funds to meet our pledge. It was seconded by Bernice DePoy and carried. Then in April, Opal Lathrop suggested planning a Trash-and-Treasure white elephant sale and a bake sale. Clara Cain then volunteered to chair a task force with someone from each circle assisting. The sale was held at the Christian Church and was open to the public.

When the remodeling was finished, thank-you notes were sent to the Catholic ladies for serving the Kiwanis meals for the past year, and to the Kiwanis Club for changing their meeting place.

April 1978 we served (Kiwanis) Ladies Night with 106 persons at $5.25 per plate; and in September that fall Ladies Night at $5.50 per plate. Two years later, December 1980, because of the rise in food costs, the suggested price for the Kiwanis dinners was $3.50 with a guarantee of 55 (meals).


Type 1 Diabetes is one of the most costly, chronic childhood diseases and is a leading cause of death for children. To support research vital to ending this disease, the Winamac Kiwanis Club is joining clubs throughout the state to fund Path To A Cure, a project of Riley Children’s Hospital. Raffle tickets are being sold through May for $5 each or 5 for $20. The drawing will be held Saturday, August 4, 2012.

  • 1st prize $5,000
  • 2nd prize $1,500
  • 3rd prize $500
  • 4th & 5th prizes $250
  • 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, & 10th prizes $100


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