On June 17 Kiwanis of Galion held its weekly meeting. Heath Watkins was the special guest speaker that day to talk about his Cleat Closet of Galion project. Watkins said that the mission of the project is to provide new and gently used cleats to local youth through donations.
Watkins accepts these donations at his office at American Family Insurance, located at 113 Harding Way West. He said that this project was started four years ago when he noticed that a lot of kids in youth football and baseball did not have cleats. Watkins wanted to do something about this and with the help of this project he is able to distribute cleats to those in need.
They accept donations from local families, charities and service organizations. Athletic footwear is purchased with 99% of the donations. Approximately 10% of that must be discarded as non-serviceable. Watkins doesn’t want that to discourage people from bringing in these cleats, however. They will decide if the cleats are usable or not.
About 95% of the donations are football, baseball, and softball cleats. The remaining 5% are wrestling shoes and track spikes. Watkins said they have a high demand for wrestling shoes so he said he would like to see more of them donated. Watkins said that they do not accept tennis shoes as they are not a general shoe charity. He said their purpose is to provide athletic footwear to those in need. Donations come mostly from Galion. Watkins said they will not turn any child away as their cleats have been distributed to children from Crestline, Bucyrus, Mansfield, Shelby, Morrow County, and as far away as Mt. Vernon. They give away approximately 200 pairs of footwear annually.
Watkins said they currently have anywhere from 75 to 100 pairs of cleats. He said that when spring sports end they see a surge of donations. Watkins has some long term planning that he would like to implement soon. These long term goals include better cataloging of footwear, adding a cleaning team, and to come up with a better distribution plan. Cleats can be picked up at the Cleat Closet of Galion at Watkins’ office at American Family Insurance Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. - 5p.m.
In club business, members would like to donate $250 to the Boy Scouts for their project to put a shelter house on the Galion City Schools campus. President Doug Greene said that this issue must be presented to the Kiwanis members three times before it can be approved. Tuesday was the first presentation to members.
It was also announced during the meeting that Kiwanis members will be doing their annual highway cleanup on June 19 at 6 p.m. On their last outing they cleaned up half of a stretch of State Route 61. Thursday they will be doing the second half.
A new project was also discussed during the meeting. Mike Mink from Norwalk recently came in and spoke to the group about a pizza bake off. The bake off is where a local pizza shop brings pizza in to a group event. The group, in this case Kiwanis, pays for the pizzas and then sells tickets to the outing. Kiwanis is still getting all the details together but they are talking about doing it next March or April.
Kiwanis will be going back to its regular meeting schedule. The club will resume meeting every Tuesday of the month moving forward with the first meeting of the month reserved for business meetings.