Tokens of gratitude

Nevada Kiwanians uplift first responders with surprise chocolate deliveries.

By Lydia Johnson

With so many health care workers stressed and exhausted from caring for COVID-19 patients, members of the Kiwanis Club of the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada decided a kind gesture might brighten their day. And what better way than with sweet treats?

Club members Brenda and Rj Greubel own Headstrong Fundraising, a local business that distributes products for group and school fundraisers, including World’s Finest® Chocolate bars. 

Starting in the spring of 2020, Nevada schools had been closed due to the pandemic, and both school and charitable groups were unable to host their regular fundraising events. That left the couple with a stash of chocolates that hadn’t been sold.

The couple decided to partner with World’s Finest® Chocolate to donate 35,000 chocolate bars from their respective inventories to the club. The bars could then be given to employees who work in emergency services. The goal was simple: to demonstrate moral support for people who consistently risk their lives to protect, heal and serve communities in the Las Vegas Valley and beyond.

“They turned it into a project where we could give back to our first responders with the chocolate,” says Lynda Spann, a participant and fellow member of the Kiwanis Club of the Las Vegas Strip. “We were trying to lift their spirits and thank them for all they do in our community in particular.” 

On the first weekend of June, Spann and 16 club members made deliveries to first responders in the cities of Las Vegas, Boulder City, North Las Vegas and Henderson. Two members from the Green Valley Kiwanis Club in Henderson also joined the effort.

The Kiwanians made surprise visits to police stations, fire stations, hospitals and nursing homes. Each location received two donated boxes of chocolates. The treats were also given to staff at the Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas.

By the weekend’s end, members had distributed all 35,000 chocolate bars. The candies provided recipients with a moment of lightness amid long, stressful work hours. 

“They were just so happy to receive them,” Spann says, “and very appreciative of being thought of at that particular time.”

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Kiwanis magazine.

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