Optimist International Club #06269 has closed after more than 42 years of helping the community.

Benny Ellerbe, the Executive Director of Optimist International, says the club’s membership has been declining for years. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it became difficult for the remaining members to meet safely.

The group’s final service act was to donate $80,000 to several charities like Mission Waco, Toys for Tots, and Packs of Hope.

Ellerbe told FOX44 News that service clubs like Optimist International are hurting because fewer young people are joining up. He says there is still a serious need for the service organizations like his offer.

Waco does have a second Optimist Club, lead by Ken Bowen. They normally meet at the Waco Hippodrome every Tuesday at 12 p.m.