By Fran Maye
When Kennett Square mayor Matt Fetick was elected to office, he thought he knew Kennett well. But after just a few months, he realized just how many caring people and organizations existed. So earlier this week, he sponsored the first annual Breakfast of Champions to honor local volunteers and organizations.
“I wanted to say thank you and celebrate all the different organizations that make Kennett such a great place to live,” he said. “The vast majority of organizations here are Kennett borne and grew out of needs for the community itself.
Fetick teamed up with Joan Holliday, a community public nurse, to organize the event. They ended up with a list of 27 organizations.
“We have global problems, but here in our town these organizations have sprung up and come together to educate our kids and do things in such a great way most people wouldn’t believe it,” Fetick said. “In my first year (in office) I was blown away by how many things were going on.”
Representatives of all 27 organizations attended the breakfast. They included:
Bridging the Community – This organization helps to partner volunteers with non-profit organizations that need assistance.
Kennett Area Community Service – Serves 1,300 every month and gives away 20,000 pounds of food – worth about $33,000 – to needy people in the community. And over 92 percent of that comes directly from the community.
Kennett Run Charities -- In its 22-year history, this organization has raised $500,000 with profits going directly back into the community. Last year, there were 3,825 participants.
Kennett Square Lions Club -- For 85 years, this organization has been helping people with eye problems. It raises about $25,000 per year and assists the Bayard Taylor Library, Kennett Senior Center, and local fire companies.
Camp Dreamcatcher --- Serves about 140 children each year affected or infected with AIDS. Last year, the number of children it served increased 30 percent. About 300 volunteers assist.
LaComunidad Hispana – Assists low-income people – about 95 percent of whom are Latino – with medical care. This year, it assisted about 5,000 people. This organization has existed for 40 years. About 160 volunteers assist.
Good Neighbors Home Repair – Helps low-income people to stay in their homes. A group of volunteers perform repairs at no cost.
After The Bell – A free, non-profit program that helps more than 300 Kennett area students with such things as homework and wellness. Last year, it partnered with 50 community organizations.
Mushroom Festival – This organization in the last 10 years raised $500,000, which went directly back into the community to assist non-profits. More than $55,000 was raised from the last festival. Assisting are 400 volunteers.
United Way of Southern Chester County -- Raised $1.2 million last year. It supports 32 different programs.
MLK Breakfast – For 11 years, people come together for a common cause and celebrate a “Day of Sharing” in which school students, volunteers and members of local organizations go into the community to do good deeds.
HIS Mission – Assists homeless people by providing them with food and shelter.
The Garage Youth Center – A place for local middle and high school students to go after school in a safe environment to either do homework, play games, or receive mentoring.
Habitat for Humanity – In existence since 1989. Since then, 126 homes were built in the county with 304 people living in those homes. This program helps low-income people buy their homes with low-interest loans and “sweat equity.”
Other organizations honored: Memorial Day Parade, Chester County Health Department, Kennett Rotary, Historic Kennett Square, Pathstone Alliance for Better Housing, Kennett Square Family Center, Kennett Area School District, Historic East Linden Project, Kennett Fire Co., Longwood Rotary, YMCA, Kennett Police and Kennett Square Borough Council.