Cape Kiwanis Club hosts party for more than 500 local youths
Hundreds of students attended the Cape Coral Kiwanis Club’s annual holiday party for children with special needs.
The 28-year-old party held at the Cape Coral Yacht Club has become a staple of the holiday season. Each year the Kiwanis invite students from 26 local schools to enjoy pizza, cupcakes, juice and live entertainment.
Event co-chair Lou Sangiovanni said approximately 525 students and 75 adults came to Wednesday’s holiday party.
Students enjoyed a live performance by the Calendar Girls, an over-50 dance group, and pianist Dan Tudor. Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan and Santa Claus also made an appearance.
Sangiovanni said the Kiwanis Club has always organized the event for the children.
“That’s why we do it, for the kids. For a lot of the kids it’s the only Christmas they will have,” he said.
Sangiovanni said each child leaves with a toy and the ESE departments from each school receive a check for $1,000.
Don Czech, general manager for Kiwanis Thrift Stores, said the holiday party is funded by sales in one of the club’s two local thrift stores.
“The community buys stuff from our thrift store and that money comes here,” he said.
This year’s holiday party cost $5,000, said event co-chair Tina Pegler. Kiwanis budgeted $10,000 last year, but some of the costs had to be scaled down because not all of it was used.
Pegler also works in schools promoting Learning for Life through the Boy Scouts of America.
She said the club has increased the number of invited schools as the student population in Lee County has increased, yet not every school can be invited at the same time every year.
“We rotate and give turns to different schools,” Pegler said.
The Cape Coral Kiwanis Club meets every Tuesday at 7 a.m. at the Harney Point VFW on Vincennes Boulevard.