Kinette Barb Kalugin, left, Mayor Sharie Minions, and Kinsmen Jason Ferguson and Bruce Hadley sign the proclamation at Port Alberni City Hall for Kin Canada Week Feb. 16-22. (ALICIA PUUSEPP PHOTO)

Port Alberni’s Kin groups celebrate service club’s centennial

Port Alberni’s Kin club has been serving the community for 84 years

BY SONJA DRINKWATER

Special to the News

Kinsmen of Canada was founded on Feb. 20, 1920 by Hal Rogers in Hamilton, Ontario. Kin Canada clubs have impacted countless communities in Canada and beyond our borders. Thousands of dedicated Kin continue to keep Founder Hal’s vision of “Serving the Community’s Greatest Need” alive.

Kin Canada has more than 400 Kin, Kinsmen and Kinette clubs from coast-to-coast. Clubs typically raise more than $18 million per year for Canadian communities.

Port Alberni’s Kinsmen have been serving our community for 84 years, since they were founded in 1936 with Harold Warren, (he owned the theatre and radio station at one time) their first president. The club has provided services and funding for many projects in the Alberni Valley, Canada and abroad.

Port Alberni Kinsmen assisted in raising funding for Katy Crosby and formed the Save A Life Foundation for Valley residents that have life threatening diseases which require expensive treatments and are facing financial hardship.

Kinsmen Mitch Gardner said, “Of course our biggest commitment to the Valley is the Alberni District Fall Fair (ADFF).”

The Kinsmen and other Fair members put in literally thousands of hours a year to prepare and host this event each year. In 1946 the Kinsmen took over running the local agriculture fair at the request of the Farmers Institute and formed the ADFF, an organization run primarily by the PA Kinsmen in which it would own the fair grounds.

The club has been very active in the community, helping tidal wave victims in 1964 and building the Elizabeth Street Community Health Centre. More recently: building park playgrounds, raising Canadian flags around our community, helping Bread of Life and literacy efforts in the Valley. “We undertake a wide variety of local fundraising service projects. Our club operates autonomously when determining how it fundraises and distributes those funds within the local community,” Gardner said.

“We are also the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s oldest partner at 46 years, to which we have donated over $38 million,” he said.

Every year on Christmas day the Kinsmen visit the residents of Westhaven and regale them with Christmas carols. Each year they also give gifts to the facility: this year it was a new washer and dryer and gift certificates to Pizza Hut that will enable the residents to have this treat once a month.

They also signed the proclamation that the week from Feb. 16-22 is Kin Canada Week. This was done at Port Alberni City Hall with the assistance of Mayor Sharie Minions.

The week kicks off on Feb. 16th with the traditional Heritage Day Dinner that is a free dinner to elders in appreciation for making this community so great.

A new flag for the Kinsmen will be raised at city hall on Feb. 20. They will be holding their annual Kindness Day on Saturday, Feb.22 at Gaiga Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. where they will offer free hot chocolate, coffee and hotdogs.

If you would like more information about this community-minded group, please give Gardner a call at 250-730-1182.

Charity and DonationsMunicipal GovernmentPort AlberniServices

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Mayor Sharie Minions, centre, with the family of Kin, recognize Kinsmen and Kinettes’ anniversary at Port Alberni City Hall. (ALICIA PUUSEPP PHOTO)

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