Jan Burns serves up lunch at the Oak Bay Kiwanis Tea Room where the service club hands out 500 free hot dogs this weekend to celebrate 75 years. (Black Press Media file photo)

Jan Burns serves up lunch at the Oak Bay Kiwanis Tea Room where the service club hands out 500 free hot dogs this weekend to celebrate 75 years. (Black Press Media file photo)

Kiwanis celebrate 75 years with Oak Bay community party

Club members handing out hot dogs this weekend at Willows Beach

Handing out hot dogs was never so fun as offering them free, as a thank you, says the secretary for the Kiwanis Club of Oak Bay.

That’s what the longstanding local service club has in the works this weekend to mark its 75th anniversary. Members have 500 hot dogs alongside cookies and coffees to hand out from their iconic tea room, nearly as old as the club itself, at Willows Beach Park on July 23 from noon to 4 p.m. – or when the hot dogs run out.

Well-known local singer Stephanie Greaves will also perform as part of the celebration.

“It’s just about coming and having a free hot dog so we can thank you,” Burns said.

RELATED: Kiwanis’ Willows Tea Room celebrates 70 years

The tea room itself is as iconic as the club in the community

In July 1947, Oak Bay Kiwanis built a ‘hut’ at the beach. By the following year it made over $700 in net profits, all donated for youth recreational facilities. In 1949, the club built the current tea room which continues to be the club’s main source of revenue.

Kiwanis supports local community projects and not-for-profits in Oak Bay and Greater Victoria as well as international projects. The focus is to improve the lives of children and the elderly both locally and globally. They hope to hit $50,000 this year, still a time of recovery from COVID-19 protocol impacts.

RELATED: Family comes through for Oak Bay Kiwanis dementia care home

The club runs Rose Manor and Kiwanis Manor – Milton Street, providing subsidized housing for seniors. It also supports the Oak Bay Kiwanis Pavilion, a residential care facility serving frail seniors, with a particular focus on caring for people living with dementia of all stages.

The Kiwanis Club of Oak Bay is always happy to see new members and recently welcomed two new people in their 30s – bolstering the average age of 70.

“It’s a mixed age and we try to have fun,” Burns said with a laugh. “We are dwindling in numbers because people don’t volunteer as much as they used to, but it’s going along.”

Learn more about the organization at kiwanisoakbay.ca.

RELATED: Willows winter breakfasts warm souls with music


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