People with disabilities tend to be viewed by society at large as takers rather than givers, but that’s not the case for the Kiwanis Aktion Club of Surry Community College.
It is playing a key role in helping people in need receive food — which always is an issue, but now is even more so during these inflationary times, especially as the holiday season approaches.
The local Aktion Club is a division of Kiwanis Clubs International, with the “k” used in place of the “c” in action to highlight the group’s relationship with Kiwanis.
But regardless of how the name is spelled, Aktion Club members are living up to it by taking an active role in feeding the hungry year-round.
They are adults with disabilities who serve the community by raising money and donating to local charities, along with participating in community service projects.
“We’ve given Yokefellow thousands over the years,” Diane Barnett, an instructor at Surry Community College who is the adviser to the Aktion Club, said Wednesday of its ongoing efforts to assist the food pantry operated by Yokefellow Ministry of Mount Airy.
The local club, which was chartered in 2011, operates in conjunction with the Creating Successful Learners program of Mount Airy City Schools, which helps students with life skills — adults ranging in age from 18 to 55.
They might suffer from conditions such as autism, Down syndrome, birth defects and others, but this hasn’t kept Aktion Club members from making a difference.
The group presently has 15 members on its roster.
Aktion is the only service club for adults with disabilities, with more than 10,000 members worldwide. Its stated mission involves having them become competent, capable and caring leaders through the vehicle of community betterment.
Food bag effort
This is the ninth year that the Aktion Club members are partnering with Lowes Foods in Mount Airy to assemble bags of food for the “Friends Feeding Friends” holiday drive.
“We’ll probably do about a thousand bags this holiday season,” Barnett said Wednesday.
For those impressed by weight implications, that translates to about 7,000 pounds of food, she added.
Through the program involving Lowes, food bags subsequently bought by store customers are taken to the Yokefellow Ministry pantry for distribution to needy families in Surry and surrounding communities. A large number of bags were put together by Aktion Club members Tuesday night alone.
In addition to their involvement, Barnett praised Lowes shoppers for supporting the feeding program year in and year out by purchasing the bags.
The charitable gestures by the Aktion Club aren’t just limited to the holiday season. It also is involved in projects throughout the year, such as a summer feeding program that fills a void for local youth in the absence of school lunches.