A new manager has taken over the reins at the Beach Kiwanis Thrift Store at the corner of Pine Ridge and Summerlin roads.
Linda Chambers began managerial operations on June 17, taking over for store manager William Schatzan who had assumed that role since 1996. Schatzan, a 10-year Beach Kiwanian, decided to retire from his lead duties, though he is still volunteering and can be seen at the store on Fridays.
"It has been such a smooth transition. The volunteers here and the staff have made it very easy," Chambers said. "I spent the last couple of weeks here learning the job, the store and getting to know the staff and customers."
Recently sworn in Beach Kiwanian Linda Chambers is now the store manager at the Beach Kiwanis Thrift Store at 11050 Summerlin Square Dr.
Chambers was recently sworn into the Beach Kiwanis, but still belongs to the Northside Naples Kiwanis. She is a graduate of Lely High School of Naples and Edison College (now known as Edison State College) of Fort Myers.
"Kiwanis offers a dual membership," she said. "I wanted to get to know the club members here and find out where the money goes in the community, so that I can relate that to the customers and other volunteers."
Chambers was a member of the Kiwanis organization in North Naples for 20 years, serving as the president of that club in 2001-02. She operated a retail store for five years in North Naples and resides in South Fort Myers.
"I always say work gets in the way of my Kiwanis," she quipped.
Fort Myers Beach Kiwanis Club sponsors a K-Kids club at the Fort Myers Beach Elementary School. K-Kids involves the club members working with fifth graders on leadership skills, developing strong moral character and encouraging loyalty to the school, community and nation.
The Beach Kiwanis also sponsor the Kiwanis Key Club at South Fort Myers High School. Key Club is an international student-led organization which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership while helping improve the environment at school and in the community.
"All the high school students have to complete 75 hours of community service to graduate," said Chambers. "We are opening up the opportunity for Key Clubbers to come in. Two students from Estero High have put in time at the store."
FMB Kiwanis give 100 percent of profits back to the community. Since being chartered on May 31, 1968, the Kiwanis Club of Fort Myers Beach has donated more than $1.5 million to the community, while more than 240 students have received college scholarships from the club.
Proceeds from the Beach Kiwanis Thrift Store go to grants and groups such as the Beach school, Children's Hospital, Bay Oaks Recreation Center, swimming lessons at the Town Community Pool, Make a Wish, WGCU Radio Reading, Vacation Bible Schools at Chapel By The Sea and Beach Baptist Church, after school and summer programs, God's Table and Salvation Army as well as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little League, soccer and other activities in which children may be involved. Support also goes to the local fireworks, Easter egg hunts, parades, Relay for Life and the health fairs.
"We'd love to have shoppers, volunteers and people that need a place to send their treasures that we can resell stop by," said Chambers, who grew up with family figures who volunteered regularly. "It's a great feeling to help people out."
The Beach Kiwanis Thrift Store at 11050 Summerlin Square Dr. is open from Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 454-8090 for more information or go to www.fortmyersbeachkiwanis.org to check out thrift store specials.