Compassion in Aktion (Club!)

Megan Miller | July 20, 2016

Megan Miller ( bottom left) with members of the Westminster Aktion Club and the CWS Hygiene Kits that they assembled. Photo: courtesy Westminster Aktion Club

Megan Miller ( bottom left) with members of the Westminster Aktion Club and the CWS Hygiene Kits that they assembled. Photo: courtesy Westminster Aktion Club

On June 14th, the monthly meeting of the Westminster, Maryland Aktion Club opened with business as usual: one member rang the bell, another took attendance, the treasurer gave a report on club finances, and the president made announcements about upcoming club happenings. Next, the Aktion Club focused its attention on a service project, something that is also business as usual for the group.

The Aktion Club, which is part of the Kiwanis family, is a service club for adults with disabilities. Though the Club meets for just one hour every month, 12 hours each year, its members use that time to get a lot done for others! As the Club’s name implies, action is at the heart of its ethos, and the Westminster Aktion Club’s members are committed to taking on projects that help their community and those in need.

The Club has been a dedicated supporter of the CWS Kits program, in addition to a number of other local and global projects. In June, its members chose to assemble 30 CWS Hygiene Kits, as a way of helping families and communities stay healthy during times of struggle.

I had the joy of joining the group at that meeting, to share about the journey their kits would make- all the way from their hands in the Aktion Club’s meeting hall, to the nearby warehouse in New Windsor, and finally, to the hands of people recovering from disaster or adjusting to life in a new country.

The Club members had lots of questions about the process, wondering:

“Who else makes kits?”
Volunteers like you, from all around the country, who want to help their neighbors in need.

“What kinds of kits does CWS send to people?”
CWS collects Hygiene Kits, School Kits and Emergency Cleanup Buckets.

“How do the kits get transported to other places?”
Once kits are ready to be sent out from the New Windsor warehouse, they get carried by truck and, sometimes, by airplane to places all around the country and the world.

“What is the farthest away place that kits are sent?”
Last year, Hygiene Kits went all the way to Sierra Leone in Africa and to Lebanon in the Middle East.

After that question, which was the last one of the day, one staff person invited the Club to think about that distance. “Isn’t it amazing to think that something you touch today could end up going all the way across the world?”

All of us in the room paused to consider that thought.

In a world that often feels inundated with tragedy, fear and loss, that room was refreshingly full of joy, energy and optimism. By assembling CWS Kits, the Aktion Club’s members chose to extend help and hope to people going through difficult times. Rather than worrying about what can’t be done, the Club sees somewhere they can help, and they act.

CWS is honored to partner with the Aktion Club in the service of others.

Megan Miller is a CWS Community Engagement Specialist.