Pittsboro Kiwanis Club funds scholarships with 56 years of State Fair ham biscuits

Thanks for reading Chatham County’s leading news source! Making high quality community journalism isn’t free — please consider supporting our journalism by subscribing to the News + Record today.

Unlimited Digital Access begins at $4.67/month

Print + Digital begins at $6.58/month


RALEIGH — For 56 years now, the Pittsboro Kiwanis Club has sold genuine country ham biscuits at the N.C. State Fair to fund scholarships for seniors graduating from local high schools.

It’s a tradition the club has continued every year since 1964 — every year, that is, except for last year, when the fair was canceled due to pandemic precautions.

“We have a following,” Kiwanis member and volunteer Richard Parr said of the club’s tasty biscuits. “The number of people that come back … we always appreciate that they come back and help us out.

“Occasionally we’ll modify the menu a little bit,” Parr said, but the club always “goes back to the basics” with their ham biscuits. Sold for $4, the biscuits serve as their primary fundraiser each year — typically bringing in around $30,000 after operation expenses.

Kiwanis International is an international service club founded in 1915, according to its website, with clubs in more than 80 nations and geographic areas. The Pittsboro club, which meets every Thursday at 7 p.m., has a facility at 309 Credle St., which it rents out to several local organizations.

Todd Yanders, who started volunteering with Kiwanis when his kids were in 9th and 7th grade, said it was good to be back this year. Both of his children — Lucas, 25, and Rachel, 22 — received scholarships when they graduated in 2015 and 2018, respectively.

“We haven’t got our final numbers for deposit yet on what we made this year, but I think we honestly had a decent year,” Yanders said. “There’s so many people that even come straight to the booth when they first walk in and I mean, we get a lot of people just donating money to us as they’re buying biscuits to help our cause.”

The club typically distributes $25,000 in scholarships each year, in addition to donating money to CORA food pantry and the Salvation Army. Based on the amount of funds raised each year, the club gives scholarships to between six and 10 students, with hopes to award enough funds to cover the first semester cost. Last year, the club “only gave $20,000,” but that was because they didn’t have any fair funds.

Kiwanis is down to 13 members, Parr said, which initially poses a challenge in finding people to work shifts the entirety of the 11-day fair period. But members recruit friends and family to help lighten the load.

“I think that myself, as well as the crew that helps me, kind of look forward to it,” Parr said, “because you have people contact which makes it interesting and it’s always kind of fun to watch people.

“But other than that, it’s a fundraiser and can be pretty busy at times, so I can’t really say it’s exciting,” he said with a laugh. “But it’s a good program for us — it’s a great way of raising funds.”

You can learn more about the Pittsboro Kiwanis club here.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here