BECKLEY, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – The Kiwanis Club of Beckley is inviting the public to celebrate its 100th anniversary with a “Dining with the Departed” fundraiser at Beckley’s Historic Black Knight.
The Oct. 22 event will begin at 6 p.m. and includes a buffet dinner and entertainment from Beckley historian and ghost hunter Scott Worley of Haunted Beckley. Members of the New River Youth Symphony will provide music during the opening meet-and-greet hour.
“The last two years have made it impossible for our club to host our annual Pancake Day, which has been our largest fundraising project for decades,” said Kellie Laraba, club president. “Without those funds, our local Kiwanis Club is not able to continue the projects it does for children in the community.”
In fact, the main priority of Kiwanis has always been service to children. Though the service projects have taken many forms in the last 10 decades, their legacy continues with the club’s ongoing projects.
Laraba explained that the club’s largest endeavor is targeted at teens. K-Family Christmas Shopping provides in-need teens in the Beckley area with money and assistance shopping for themselves and loved ones.
Other current service projects include Kick It Again, which “evens the playing field” for local soccer players from all backgrounds by cleaning and distributing gently used equipment; contributions to New River Youth Symphony, which helps young musicians learn and grow under the direction of professionals; Key Clubs and Key Club scholarships at Raleigh County high schools, which instill in students a lifelong attitude of community service; and participating in community events, including parades and Beckley’s Kids Classic Festival.
Kiwanis Club members also contribute to local food pantries and the restocking of Park’s Toy Chest in the pediatric unit of Raleigh General Hospital.
“So, with this fundraising celebration, we can celebrate the charter Kiwanis International gave the Beckley club back in 1921, and we can raise funds to continue helping kids,” Laraba said.
Turns out that the Kiwanis Club of Beckley’s long history has ties to the event location, Black Knight, and so do a few local ghost stories. That’s where Worley, who runs Haunted Beckley, comes in. His storytelling for the evening will be accompanied by ghostly actors who bring history to life. Dinner will be followed by a paranormal investigation of the Historic Black Knight campus, for any ticket holders interested in staying.
“Kiwanis has always done great things for our community,” Worley said. “I’m excited to celebrate with them and to share some haunted history with their guests. It’s going to be a fun evening. And who knows? We may meet some Kiwanians of the past.”
Kiwanis leaders shared that the timing of the fundraiser is ideal.
“Since our 100th anniversary falls so close to Halloween, this just seems like a great way to celebrate it with the community we serve,” Laraba said.
Tickets are $60 a person or $100 per couple.