Director's Letter - November 2016

merced-kiwinsThose of us in the Kiwanis Family House (KFH) community were still processing the loss of long-time guest Sandra Gantt Baxter when we learned of the turn in fortune for Lorraine Ancic.  You have just read Lorraine’s story, above.  While desired outcomes far outnumber sadder ones, the past month has been one of our tougher to endure.

Even so, with another holiday season approaching, our spirits will rebound as our supporters rally once again to allow grateful families to be close to their hospitalized loved ones.  Our KFH community embraces a social obligation – a love of humanity – to be in service to the less fortunate.  That is the essence of philanthropy.  I paid no more or less attention to the ancient Greeks in world history class than I did to any other society.  But I do remember that the word philanthropy comes from the Greek.  To the Greeks, love of humanity was a sacred obligation imparting a sense of duty to help others in need.

There must be a healthy Greek spirit in all Kiwanis family members and specifically in passionate KFH champions.  As another wonderful example, four proud members of Kiwins from Merced area high schools arrived at KFH during Thanksgiving week with their Kiwanis Region Advisor, John Carlos.  They brought donations with them – paper towels, cleaning supplies, and children’s books.  They also gave us three hours of their valuable time to sort through donated clothes and deep clean guest kitchens.  That is philanthropy.  That is a love of humanity.  That is just the kind of commitment we need to remain available to families enduring emotional hospitalizations.  So many volunteers give us that gift.

I have recently had phone conversations with Sandra’s father in Texas and Lorraine’s son in Washington State.  Both have conveyed their sincere appreciation for Kiwanis as an organization and KFH as a comforting place of respite.  They recounted how they and their sick loved ones credit the staff and volunteers at KFH for being there for them when they most needed us.  Many of us are committed to KFH for the long haul, knowing that we will experience the emotional swings that come with the legacy we sustain.  As we have said so many times, medical professionals are dedicated to saving lives; KFH is dedicated to saving families.

There are so many children and families in need around the world that our charitable work often seems endless.  Some may ask, “Why bother?”  Kiwanis family members ask, “How can we not?”.  That love of humanity is not all Greek to me.

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