Kiwanis Club of Toms River, NJ
Changing the World One Child and One Community at a Time

Club History

Planning for the Kiwanis Club of Toms River (Kiwanis-TR) began late in 1923, and our club was officially formed in 1924.  The club began with the tradition of having Monday night meetings, and that tradition has continued for over 90 years.  Community affairs and youth activities have always been a focus of our club. 

From the start Kiwanis-TR has participated in activities with long-lasting results.  Our club’s first activity was to secure from the State of New Jersey the first north/south hard-surfaced highway, from Elizabeth to Toms River and then extending south to Atlantic City.  This project was completed in 1925 and the highway came to be known as Route 9.  Another project involved making improvements to the wooden bridge that spans the Barnegat Bay into Seaside Heights.  That bride stood for over 20 mare years until it was replaced by a draw-span bridge in 1950.  The bridge was named for an original Kiwanis-TR trustee, Thomas A. Mathis.  In addition to community projects such as these, Kiwanis-TR was involved with supporting the library and Scouts programs. 

During the difficult years of the Depression , Kiwanis-TR raised funds to support needy families and continues to support Boy Scouts programs.  And during the War Years in the 40’s the Club had members present to give a box of “goodies” to each draftee into the Military leaving Toms River.   During this time Kiwanis-TR also supported building a community hospital by being members of committee developed to build it, and by raising $20,000 to support Toms River Community Memorial Hospital.  The Halloween Window Painting Contest began in 1945, and continues to this day. 

Community projects continued, and in the 50’s these included more Scouting projects and the sponsorship of a Toms River Little League team, The Kiwanis Giants.  Another activity was the planting of Dogwoods around Toms River which still bloom every spring.   The work of Kiwanis continued over the next several decades with activities that supported healthcare, youth, the arts, persons who are disabled, transportation needs and building our community.    Kiwanis in Toms River grew to include Key Clubs at the High Schools, a Circle K Club at Ocean County College and a K-Kids Club at St. Josephs Grade School. 

Projects, both large and small, continue to be the cornerstone of the Kiwanis Club of Toms River.  As we continue to grow and connect with new members, new partners and new projects we continue to remain true to our dedication to changing the world.