RAMSEUR — The Ramseur Area Civitan Club may be small in numbers but its deeds are felt by many in the community.
“We try to do little things and big things,” said Deirdre Kraft, club president.
From supplying food boxes near the Ramseur Public Library to awarding college scholarships to local students, the Civitans look for needs and find ways to help.
Chartered in 2010 with sponsorship by the Zooland Civitans, the Ramseur Area Civitan Club currently has 16 members.
“We’ve always been a small club,” Kraft said. “What we do, for the most part, is in Ramseur.”
“We’re the only service club in town,” added Sarah Jeanes, club secretary.
Early on, the club supported a men’s home in Ramseur, having barbecues in the summer and providing the men with gifts and a meal at Christmas. That was a fulfillment of a primary mission of Civitans International, which is to help people with developmental disabilities.
“We’ve always worked with the exceptional children classes in Ramseur Elementary and Southeastern Randolph Middle School,” said Linda Allred, club treasurer. The Civitans throw parties for the students, and give gifts and food, depending on what the teachers say they’re in need of.
The Civitans also honor the EC teachers in those schools as well as at Coleridge, Franklinville, Grays Chapel and Eastern Randolph High School.
In fact, Eastern Randoph High now has a Junior Civitan Club, which works in tandem with the Ramseur Area Club. “We rely on the Junior Civitans at Eastern Randolph,” Kraft said. The students help with projects such as Fill the Truck to help stock the Ramseur Ministerial Association food pantry.
The Ramseur Area Civitans provides scholarships for Eastern Randolph students planning to attend college. When Civitan David Jeanes, husband of Sarah Jeanes, died in January, the club decided to provide two more scholarships in his memory, changing the criteria to include someone who holds the standards of Civitan, not just the best scholars.
Sarah Jeanes said, “My husband loved kids and hated college debt.”
The David Jeanes scholarships can go to students who want to attend technical school. Kraft said one member of the Junior Civitans has said she wants to go to culinary school, for instance.
The “little thing” of keeping a food box filled encourages Civitan members to bring food to every meeting that will be transferred to the food box. “It’s geared more to the teenager,” Kraft said. “They don’t want to come across as not having food.”
In recruiting new members, the Civitans tell potential servants, according to Jeanes, “You don’t have to be wealthy to be in the club. We want anyone to be able to participate.”
For that reason, quarterly dues are just $27, or $108 per year. The local club gets just $7.50 of that after disbursals to Civitan International and others. That’s why local fund-raisers are important, including Soup Bowl Saturday, which serves a variety of soups and offers Seagrove pottery bowls to diners.
Another major fund-raiser is Apple Month at Millstone Creek Orchards east of Ramseur. Kraft said the owners, Beverly and Nick Mooney, a few years ago offered the Civitans the opportunity to sell hot dogs, brats, drinks and chips during the month of September. Apple Month was so successful that it has continued and Beverly Mooney has become a Civitan.
“We’ve had a tremendous outpouring of support,” Kraft said. “It’s our primary fund-raising event. We couldn’t have picked a better venue.”
“Seven or eight years ago, Beverly with others started Blessing Bags for the needy at Christmas,” Allred said. “That started a relationship with us and she joined the club.”
Allred said a social worker with the Ramseur schools asked for the Civitans to supply coats for needy students. “We bought nine coats for students with five schools,” said Allred. “The next day it was 31 degrees. It makes you feel good to supply a need. Children should not suffer.”
Membership Month is approaching
“May is Membership Month,” Jeanes said. “On May 16, we’ll have a membership meeting and invite the public. It’s 7 p.m. at Jordan Memorial United Methodist Church.
“What I like about the club is, we’re not focused on fund-raising,” Jeanes added. “This club spends it.”
“We’re not here to hoard the money but to spend it, put it back in the community,” Kraft said.
Projects of the Ramseur Area Civitan Club include:
— Paying for deer meat processing for the food pantry.
— Setting out flags on the graves of veterans at Sunset Knoll Cemetery.
— Providing school supplies for the annual Back to School Bash.
— Donating cash to the Backpack Program to feed needy students on weekends.
— Giving gift cards as Citizenship Awards at Ramseur Elementary and Southeastern Randolph Middle School.
— Donating to Ash-Rand Rescue.
— Donating to Operation Red Sleigh.
— Giving to Victory Junction.
— Providing amenities to the children’s activity room at the Ramseur Public Library.
— Donating to Special Olympics.
— Giving cash to Emmy’s House.
— Donating to the Randolph County SPCA and American Legion Post 81 baseball.
A little Civilians history
Civitan was founded in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1917 by Dr. Courtney W. Shropshire. Civitan International now has more than 40,000 members worldwide.
The mission of Civitan is to build good citizenship by providing a volunteer organization of clubs dedicated to serving individual and community needs, with an emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities.
The Ramseur Area Civitan Club is part of Area 5 East of North Carolina District West. The club meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at Jordan Memorial United Methodist Church from 7-8 p.m.
For more details, call Kraft at 561-543-9889, Lola Swaim at 336-382-7878, Allred at 336-318-1776 or Jeanes at 336-943-3103. Information is also available on Facebook.