Liverpool Kinsmen Club: 75 years and counting

·3 min read

One of the most prolific community organizations in Queens County, the Liverpool Kinsmen Club is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

There will be no big celebrations for the club, which is part of District 7, because of the ongoing pandemic. But Queens County residents are asked to “take a few moments to reflect on what 75 years of service means to your community,” as posted on the club’s Facebook page.

“We serve the community’s greatest need. If we don’t have service clubs you would see several things not exist. The government can’t sponsor everything,” said club president Brian Godfrey. “They depend on other organizations and volunteers because the taxpayer can’t pay for everything.”

The club was chartered November 7, 1945 by the Kinsmen Club of Halifax. Since then, many members have enjoyed playing an integral role in fundraising and giving back to the community.

Gary Levy has been a big part of the club since 1974. As Kinsmen’s longest-serving member, he was awarded a lifetime membership in February.

Renowned for his volunteerism in the area, Levy helped with the organization’s Hospital Hustle event for 40 years and with the air cadets for 30 years.

With Godfrey’s and Levy’s help, the Liverpool Kinsmen has raised and dispensed close to $1 million to groups in the area.

Among the club’s accomplishments over the years was its spearheading of a fundraising drive for the former Queens Memorial Arena in 1967. It donated $22,000 towards the project. That year, Kinsmen also launched its ongoing sponsorship of the Privateer Air Cadet Squadron.

The club started the area’s first Christmas food hamper campaign and continues to assist with the Christmas Cheer Box campaign, which now is spearheaded by the Salvation Army.

It supported renovations at Queens General Hospital to the tune of $15,000 in 1987 and raised $10,000 for the hospital between 2012 and 2017.

The club gives an annual $2,000 bursary to a graduating student from Liverpool Regional High School and North Queens Community School, and it was one of the first organizations to contribute to the new Universally Designed Play Park.

Like other organizations, however, the club has found it tough to fundraise through the COVID-19 pandemic.

While typically members could be seen selling fish and chips out of their home-made wagon at various events around Liverpool, this year they were not.

The weekly Kingo Bingo was suspended temporarily as well, although it started back up in September and now runs live every Thursday on Eastlink TV.

Also, like many volunteer organizations, the club has seen its membership decline over the years. When it first became active in the 1940s, there were approximately 50 members in the group; today there’s about 10, who range in age from their early twenties to their eighties.

“Most young people have to work and don’t have time to volunteer. It’s a challenge for us, but we are still here and kicking,” said Godfrey.

For more information on the Liverpool Kinsmen Club you can contact Godfrey at 902-350-0249 or Levy at 902-354-5530. The club meets once a month.

The club also has a web page: district7kin.ca/Liverpool and a Facebook page where you can keep up-to-date on all of their activities.

Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin