Rollie Cooper, a local organic farmer and member of the Whitewater Kiwanis Breakfast Club, helps a crew from the Whitewater Middle School Builders Club harvest pumpkins and squash they planted in the spring. Cooper provided the equipment, seeds and oversight for the project. The Builders Club is run under the direction of WMS associate principal Ben Holzem, shown with the club’s members who were able to attend the harvest last week. (Submitted photo)

Whitewater Middle School Builders Club planted organic squash, pumpkins

By Al Stanek


Families in Whitewater who may be struggling will soon have their choice of organic edible pumpkins and squash, courtesy of the Whitewater Kiwanis sponsored Middle School ‘Builders Club’.

Roughly three-dozen Whitewater Middle School students, under the direction of associate principal and Kiwanis member Ben Holzem, harvested the produce on Sept. 22. After washing and inspection, the produce was then made available at the Whitewater Community Space on East Milwaukee Street beginning last weekend.

Local organic farmer Rollie Cooper, another Whitewater Kiwanis member, provided the needed equipment, seeds and oversight for the project. The pumpkins are mostly New England pie pumpkins, which can provide both family fun as Jack-O-Lanterns and serve as a food source.

“The Builders Club provides our students with the opportunity of getting out into our community and serving others,” Holzem said. “We are finding that it promotes leadership and good citizenship, and we are genuinely proud of them and their efforts.”

The Builders Club has 56 active members. Not all were able to attend last week’s harvest because of other after school activities.

The Whitewater Kiwanis Club is made up of volunteers interested in helping children in the Whitewater community and throughout the world. Along with supporting the Builders Club and a University of Wisconsin-Whitewater auxiliary group the Kiwanis have been instrumental in providing hundreds of thousands of dollars in projects that benefit children in the area and enhance Whitewater’s quality of life.

Incoming Whitewater Kiwanis Club President Patrick Taylor stressed that 100 percent of funds raised go directly toward projects with no raised funds used for administrative costs.

Each year, the club distributes approximately $20,000, with more than half going to various Whitewater Unified School District programs.

Funds are raised through annual pancake breakfasts that have been served continuously in Whitewater since the 1950s along with yearly poinsettia and lily plant sales.

The club is currently looking for additional members. The Whitewater Kiwanis Breakfast Club invites members of the community to follow its Facebook page.

Al Stanek is a member of the Whitewater Kiwanis Breakfast Club.



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