An organization accustomed to giving was on the receiving end this week.
The Kin Family was named the City of Summerside’s George Key Sr. citizen of the year. The award honours an individual or group who display outstanding character and make exceptional contributions to Summerside's well-being.
Seven Summerside Kinsmen, 11 Kinettes from central P.E.I., and one Kin Kid comprise the Kin Family.
“Both our clubs click,” said Sue Gallant, president of the Kinettes.
“When we have projects, we all know our roles, and that makes things go so much more smoothly."
The following individuals comprise the Kin Family:
- Eric Ferrish
- Ray McCourt
- Bill Smith
- John Arsenault
- Sam Arsenault
- Mike Tynski
- Mike Cameron
Kinettes from central P.E.I.
- Sue Gallant
- Alesia Desjardins
- Darlene Albert
- Liz Turner
- Karen Rowe
- Brenda Arsenault
- Sheila Gallant
- Mary Rayner
- Sara Faithfull
- Dana Durant
- Stephanie Quackenbush
- Jocelyn Rayner
Summerside Kinsmen president Eric Ferrish said receiving this award is a great accomplishment for the Kin Family.
“We do it for the love it,” said Ferrish, who has been a Kinsman for 40-plus years. “To be honoured this way, it’s quite an accolade.”
Ferrish and Gallant both expressed their appreciation for being selected for the award.
“We don't do things for recognition,” said Gallant.
“It is a big, big honour.”
Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart, in a media release, said the Kin Family is an excellent choice.
“The organization works tirelessly to serve the community’s greatest needs, through fundraising and working with groups, but most notably their Kin Family Christmas Appeal,” said Stewart.
The Kin Family Christmas Appeal is going into its 71st season and provides families in need with groceries, presents and toys for children.
Gallant noted this project, along with Christmas hampers, receive strong support.
She added people do not realize how rewarding being involved is until they participate.
Gallant noted longtime volunteers are now including their children, who are learning from this experience.
"People go and deliver, and the stories they come back with are unbelievable. Some of them are crying. Some of these people, this is all they get what we give them.
“Every project is worthwhile, and you feel good about it. I know after we do our Christmas appeal and hampers, I have a major breakdown.”
Last year, the Kin Family provided 344 senior angels – gifts for seniors – along with toys and food for just under 400 kids and 225 families.
“We do it for the love it. To be honoured this way, it’s quite an accolade. It’s great for the Kin Family.”
- Summerside Kinsmen president Eric Ferrish
The Kin Family's involvement includes much more, however.
The Kinsmen team up with the Summerside Legion for a popular television bingo on Wednesday nights. The Kin Family also sponsors minor sports teams, donates to non-profit organizations, provides school scholarships and helps fundraise for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown and Prince County Hospital in Summerside.
“We are heavily involved," said Ferrish.
"Our motto is our community's greatest needs."
The Kin Family receives letters year-round from people asking for support.
“You don’t think twice about it,” said Gallant.
“This year may be a little different because of COVID-19 because we haven't been able to do many projects, but that doesn’t matter. We will make do somehow.”