The Herald Bulletin

October 4, 2013

Editorial: Help stop decline of local service clubs

The Herald Bulletin

---- — The Lions, the Kiwanis, the Rotary, the Optimists and other service clubs have had a profoundly positive impact on communities across the United States over the past century.

They've provided financial support, volunteerism and resources for children, the elderly and other people in need.

While such clubs continue to play a key role in many areas, membership at most service clubs across the U.S. are in decline. People, it seems, are busier these days with their jobs, families and various interests.

Some of this can't be helped. But if most people were honest about it, they would admit that the 15 hours or more they spend watching TV every week could easily be used to help out in the community.

In his 2000 book "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community," Robert D. Putnam asserted that attendance at club meetings across the country had fallen by 58 percent since the mid-1970s.

Many service organizations in Madison County are experiencing this decline, and the community is suffering as a result. The most striking recent example is the closure of the Anderson Noon Kiwanis Club.

At its zenith, the club had about 150 members. Just before it closed, the roll had dwindled to 20. The Kiwanis used to meet for lunch on Thursdays and form strategies for using the money they raised to do good work in the community.

Anderson's population has fallen by several thousand people over the past two decades, and there isn't as much wealth in the community as during the heyday of the local auto industry.

But the county is still home to 132,000 people. Many of those people are in need. And many of them are in a position to provide help.

A great way to help is to join a local service organization. Plenty still exist, but they need new members to keep them alive and vibrant.

In summary A great way to help in the community is to join a local service organization. Plenty clubs still exist, but they need new members to keep them alive and vibrant.