On Nov. 1, HSHS St. John’s Foundation celebrated a $35,000 donation from the Downtown Kiwanis Club of Springfield to fund the HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital K-Kart Program.

K-karts are specialized carts that will be utilized in various departments within the children’s hospital. The carts include sensory carts for pediatrics, surgery and the emergency department, game carts for pediatrics and emergency department, and a sibling cart for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The Downtown Kiwanis Club, which has about 30 members, has taken this on as their signature project. Ron Provart, the spokesman for the group, said their organization is funding one k-kart each year for the next seven years. They intend to raise the money through a variety of year round fundraisers. “We just finished Peanut Days, and going into the holidays we sell cheese, that’s our biggest thing. Then in the spring, we’ll have pancake day at Applebees,” said Provart.

Provart said the sole purpose of the Kiwanis is to serve the children of the world. Globally, the Kiwanis have tackled issues such as iodine deficiencies in children, maternal and neonatal tetanus and more. The Downtown Kiwanis have also funded previous community projects, including Kiwanis field and handicap-accessible equipment at Southwind Park.

“We want to express our tremendous gratitude to the Downtown Kiwanis organization and its support of the k-karts program,” said Vernessa Glover, executive director of HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital. “We’ve already seen the impact of the first k-kart donation in the smiles of the children who have used it.”