Jul 19, 2013 - By Andrea Novotny, Staff WriterThe Riverton High School Key Club received the Single Service Award, bronze level, at the Key Club International Convention from July 3-7 in Washington, D.C.
The award-winning "service marathon" stood out among projects submitted by Key Clubs from around the world that competed in the same division as RHS.
The distance of a modern Olympic running marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards, so the Riverton club's plan was to complete 26 hours and 385 seconds of continuous community service. The club exceeded that goal, completing a total of 30 service hours, from 9 a.m. Nov. 21 to 1 p.m. Nov. 22.
Key Club adviser Gay Hughes said the club had about 28 active members this year, almost all of whom participated in the marathon. Some members stayed the entire night, some took breaks and some took naps, but there were at least 10 members working at any given time, Hughes said.
"There was always somebody doing something," she said.
The last day before Thanksgiving break was the RHS "service day." The Key Club began the marathon while the rest of the school met in homerooms to work on different service projects. The club was even able to create several projects for the rest of the school.
The main event was the Thanksgiving meal delivery, a project the club has organized for the last several years.
The club supplies and delivers Thanksgiving meals at no charge to anyone in the community who needs one. Nearly 500 meals were delivered this year.
The project is a community-wide effort. Hughes estimates roughly 75 to 100 community volunteers assisted in the delivery. Food and monetary donations toward the efforts also came from the community.
Much of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was dedicated to getting ready for the meal delivery, preparing dressings and relishes, wrapping silverware, and planning assembly lines and delivery routes.
The 30-hour period also provided time for the club to work on other projects.
Members decorated the commons area of the high school for Christmas, wrote thank-you letters to blood drive donors, and made signs for their lockers to promote Key Club and its upcoming events.
They also worked on many of their ongoing service projects, including "Stuff the Bus." The club sorted and bagged 147 backpack meals from food items collected during the previous weeks to distribute to children who were on the free and reduced school lunch program so they would have something to eat during weekends and holidays.
The students made a dozen fleece blankets for a boarding school in Vietnam through Children of Peace International, an ongoing partner with the RHS Key Club.
On Nov. 21, some members collected money for UNICEF's Project ELIMINATE, an effort to stamp out maternal and neonatal tetanus. During the service night, the club counted this money along with money raised in Trick or Treat for UNICEF. The sum was more than $300.
The club also sorted and sanitized more than 500 toys and stuffed stockings for the Christmas Toy Store, a service the club provides that allows anyone to shop for the holidays. Donations were requested from those who could afford to give.
The Riverton Key Club also was the only club in the Rocky Mountain District, which encompasses Wyoming, Colorado and part of Nebraska, to receive the Distinguished Diamond Level Club Achievement award.
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