Kiwanis koalas to ‘tie knot’ at ‘beary’ sweet Maspeth fundraiser

Photo courtesy of J.P. DiTroia

Kiwanis Queens West is hosting a special “mascot wedding” fundraiser to support the Eliminate Project, which hopes to end maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) by providing immunization shots to mothers and infants in need. The fundraiser will take place at O’Neill’s Restaurant in Maspeth on Saturday, March 21.

“Our Kiwanis members of Queens West are fun-loving and have very big hearts,” said Lieutenant Governor of Kiwanis Queens West J.P. DiTroia. “We are hoping to draw 50 or more [attendees] since all the net proceeds will go to Project Eliminate to save babies.”

The theme of the evening’s fundraiser will be the wedding of the Kiwanis Queens West mascot, Kiwally the Kiwanian, and his girlfriend Kiwanna, both stuffed koala bear dolls.

There is a $65 donation that includes dinner and entertainment at the event, with all proceeds going to the Eliminate Project.

“I always set my goals high. If we raise $2,000 It would be great. But we would be happy with $1,000 as well,” DiTroia said of the fundraiser. “That would save 500 babies since it costs $2 to give a baby the shot for tetanus.”

Each year, an estimated 60,000 babies and a large number of women die from this disease. The disease causes the newborns to have repeated, painful convulsions and extreme sensitivity to light and touch.

“That’s what Kiwanis does with UNICEF, they get the babies the needed shot to protect them,” DiTroia said.

In order to stop MNT, over 100 million mothers and their children must be immunized. That will require vaccines, syringes, safe storage, transportation, the services of skilled staff and much more.

To do this, “Kiwanis International has set a goal to raise $110 million in five years. We are in our fifth year and internationally, we…have raised over $72 million,” DiTroia explained. “In our New York State Kiwanis District we have raised over $1 million, and in my great district Queens West Kiwanis, of which I am the proud lieutenant governor, we have raised over $32,000, and that is in addition to all the other worthy projects that our 17 Kiwanis clubs perform for the communities that they live in.”

For more information on Project Eliminate, click here.


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