(1931 – 1941)

During 2021, the Kiwanis Club of Swift Current celebrates its 100th anniversary. This is the second of ten articles summarizing club projects and activities during ten decades of service. 

If the 1920’s was a decade of relative prosperity, expansion, and enthusiasm, the 1930’s were, by contrast, depressed and disappointing. Because the price of wheat dropped to 33 cents a bushel, it was natural that local business would suffer accordingly. 

Kiwanis membership dropped to 30 by 1932 largely because of business closures and transfers. The club reduced its membership initiation fee to $5 and the annual dues to $10. Local citizens were unable to support fundraising projects. One example illustrates this problem. In 1929, proceeds of a Kiwanis sponsored dance were $458, and in 1936, the club lost $11 on the same event. Apple Week was begun in 1932 but netted less than $200 a year until 1940. 

Reduced income affected the club’s programming when it was sorely needed. Senior governments didn’t provide social services in the early 30’s, so local relief was the responsibility of rural and urban municipalities. The City of Swift Current organized an Emergency Relief Bureau to which the Kiwanis Club contributed most of its Charity Account reserves. By 1935 the federal and provincial governments increased their contribution to ease the strain on citizens, service clubs, and municipalities.

One project undertaken to raise money was a midnight movie held in the Lyric Theatre in 1931. “Talkies” had just been introduced in 1929. The Swift Current Amusement Company (Kiwanian Jack Lundholm, President) donated the theatre, and the Fox Film Corporation donated the film. Kiwanis raised nearly $200. 

The depressed economy improved somewhat toward the end of the decade and 21 members were added to the Kiwanis roster. The Elmwood Park Swimming Pool, the Kiwanis Park, and Child-Aid had first call on funds. Kiwanians paid to keep the Swift Current Horticultural Society alive and hosted excellent shows in the Healy Hotel. The Kiwanis Club supported the Society before and after it became part of the Frontier Days Organization in 1967.

It was in the early 1940’s that the club incorporated under the Saskatchewan Societies Act and the Charity Account was renamed the Trust Account. In the 20’s the account was often more than $1000 each year, but usually less than $100 from 1932-1937.

Canada’s entry into the Second World War affected decisions made regarding projects. In 1939, a contest was begun to guess the closest second the ice on the Swift Current Creek would break up in spring. The proceeds were used to send gifts to local men and women in Canada’s Armed Forces. Nearly one million cigarettes and other amenities were sent during the duration of the war. If war didn’t kill them, the cigarettes would eventually. Since most of the young men had left the community to serve in the Armed Services, recruitment to Kiwanis resulted in an “older” membership during the 1940’s.

Excerpts for this article were gleaned from “Fifty Years of Building” by J. Baden Campbell.

Compiled by Dianne Miller.

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