HEART OF THE VALLEY: Local Organizations You Can Join to Help the Community

Members of local Lions Clubs partnered up last month with The Movement Family (TMF) to service the Homeless at the Buckley Transportation Center on Common Street in Lawrence. Above are “Lion Dave” O’Brien, District 33N Governor, Liz Pettis of the North Andover Club, Nancy Gorman of TMF, Bob Murdock from the Daybreak Homeless Shelter in Lawrence, Valley Patriot Publisher Tom Duggan who is President of the Lawrence Lions and a member of TMF, with TMF founder Michael Gorman and Mark Alexander of the Dunstable Tyngsboro Lions Club, the 1st Vice-District Governor.


By: Katie Cook – 6/24

Service clubs truly are the heart of the Merrimack Valley! Typically, these clubs are professional men & women coming together to provide service to our communities, in line with their national organizations mission.

They are neighbors, friends, and leaders volunteering their skills and resources to solve issues and address community needs.

We have 4 great service clubs already in most of our towns: Kiwanis, Rotary, Exchange & Lions Club.

You may have heard of one or more of these, you might have been on a sports team as a kid sponsored by one of these clubs or you might see signs around town highlighting some of the great work they are doing.

Each club has its own chapter per town that you might want to consider joining or donating to. Clubs typically meet anywhere from once a week to once a month for their board meeting, usually at a local restaurant or business.

At these meetings there is often a guest speaker to help educate its members on a variety of different topics. Most try to have monthly, hands-on service projects in the community. Once or twice a year they also host a fundraising event. Dues for each of these organizations can range from $150-$500 per year.
Dues can be covered by your company, as a way for them to show support for their employees and to give back to the community they are operating in. Local, small businesses are some of the biggest supporters of service clubs.

So, what’s the right club for you?? Here is a little bit about each of their individual missions and some examples of what local clubs are doing to help meet their goals.




Kiwanis International’s mission is to “serve the kids who need us most.” Their focus is on health and nutrition, education and literacy, and youth leadership development.

My personal favorite club (since I am the President of the Methuen Chapter) is doing some amazing projects in Methuen.

We installed mini libraries in each of the laundromats around town, with free books for reading while you wait or to take home. This is helping to give access to books to children whose parents may not have extra resources to spend on books or have time to get to the library. Kiwanis sponsors the Key Club in each of the local high schools. This is the high school philanthropy club.

This year, the Key Club kids at Methuen High hosted a book drive. During the Trunk-or-Treat the school systems hosted for the elementary school kids, these books were passed out as an alternative to candy.

The Lawrence Club celebrated 100 Years of Service this year with a big Gala. Proceeds went to the Greater Lawrence Community Boating Program for the “Kiwanis Water Challenge.”

Teaching kids to survive in the water is part of the club’s mission. Thanks to the Salem NH Club the Kiwanis Logo is always seen around town on the back of the Boys & Girls Club Shuttle bus that they helped them get.


Secretary of the Methuen Rotary Club Amy Longtin with Valley Patriot Publisher and TMF Member Tom Duggan and Rotary President Katie Cook


Rotary Internationals “Service Above Self” mission is to provide service to others.

Rotary members believe in a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues with a focus on, promoting peace, fight disease, provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, save mothers and children, support education, grow local economies, and protect the environment.

The Salem N.H. Club hosts an annual food drive for the local pantry and serves dinner every week at a local church to families in need. The Andover Club sponsored and installed a Buddy Bench at Andover High School to promote new friendships.

Haverhill Lions had 12 members in attendance at TMF along with a dozen members from other local clubs.


Lions Dave O’Brien and Laurie Cantwell were on hand to help TMF feed the homeless in Lawrence

The Lions Club serves locally in so many ways. They have fully developed programs, service resources, and organizational support for eight global causes and several special initiatives. Specifically, childhood cancer, diabetes, disaster relief, environment, humanitarian aid, hunger relief, vision assistance and Healthy Choices for Youth.

The Lions Club is most known for their “Mailboxes” for eyeglass and hearing aid recycling that can be seen all around different towns.

The Salem, NH Club has a box right near me at the B & H Gas station. The Lawrence Club President, Tom Duggan, went with his group to a local homeless shelter to offer free eye exams and found two homeless individuals who had serious eye issues.

The Lawrence club was able to get them the free financial help they needed to have their eyes operated on. Last month, the Methuen, North Andover and Haverhill Clubs teamed up to serve dinner in Lawrence for the homeless through the non-profit “TMF” or The Movement Family. Lions Club members from Saugus, North Andover, Lowell, Haverhill, Tyngsboro, Dunstable, Methuen, Lawrence, and Chelmsford helped set up tables, served food, sat and spoke with homeless addicts to understand the homeless and their needs.


The Exchange Club “unity for service” works to make their little corner of the world—and beyond—a better, brighter place for all. Their service focuses on four main areas of impact: Family, Community and Country.

The national goal is prevention of child abuse.

Last month the Methuen Exchange Club hosted their 19th Annual fundraising event, The Taste of Methuen.

This super-fun event allows community members to come to one location to taste the local cuisine and raise money for their club to use on things like scholarships for area children.

The Haverhill Club is very proud of their focus on Americanism through their Hometown Heroes Program. If you are driving around downtown Haverhill, you can see local Veterans Banners all around, highlighting our local heroes to honor them. Sarah Westcott, president elect of New England District Exchange told me the Haverhill club is giving over $20,000 away in scholarships this year to Haverhill Seniors.

As a business owner or leader in the Merrimack Valley there are so many ways you can be involved! Today’s young professionals want to feel supported and encouraged by their employers. A great way to do this is to ask them what they are passionate about, see if this aligns with any of these service organizations and encourage them to join! Employees who feel supported stay in their positions longer! Helping to pay their dues and allowing them on company time to attend meetings and events is a small price to pay to have your companies name in the community in a philanthropic light.

Service clubs are an excellent way to jump into helping your community and make new friends in the process. All clubs in the area are accepting new members and would LOVE to have you come to check out a meeting.

Go to our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/heartofthevalley978 for a full list of clubs and contact information in your town!

Have a Charity or Non-Profit you would like to see highlighted?
Email HeartoftheValley978@gmail.com ◊