In The Spotlight Lions News Briefs MEMBERSHIP GROWS The final membership numbers for 2012-13 are in. Membership increased by 29 to 1,347,403, the sixth consecutive year of growth. There were 204,288 new Lions in 2012-13, an increase of 8,037 from 2011-12. Yet there were 204,259 membership drops, an increase of 13,857 from the year before. Membership in the United States decreased by 9,552 to 341,862, and membership in Canada declined by 522 to 37,629. Lions Clubs International is continuing to focus on improving member experience as well as on numerous membership initiatives. DESPITE DEATH, INSTALLATION HELD Margaret Chang died of breast cancer just days before she was to be installed as president of the Sibu City Lions Club in Malaysia. To honor her dedication to service, members went ahead with the installation ceremony. “Our club wants to emulate Chang’s spirit of love and kindness in serving the community. She left us with the honor of being a leader who served,” Secretary Stephen Chuo told the Borneo Post. Members held a minute of silence for her, played a video tribute and shaved their heads in a show of solidarity. She was buried in her Lions vest. LIONS’ WEBSITE IMPROVED The home page of the website of Lions Clubs International has a new look. Scrolling on the front page are links to media stories on the service projects of Lions worldwide. Visiting www.lions clubs.org now provides a quick reminder of the global impact of Lions. LIONS RESPOND TO YOSEMITE BLAZE The “Rim Fire” in late summer in California burned nearly 400 square miles in and around Yosemite National Park. Lions were a vital part of the disaster relief. For two weeks Lions ran the food operation for 204 evacuees and dozens of emergency personnel at a Red Cross facility set up at a fairgrounds in Sonora. Lions from seven districts and 43 clubs served 6,334 meals; 27 to 35 Lions staffed three shifts daily. Lions logged 3,257.5 hours of service, says Tom Penhallegon, a Sonora Lion who directed the food operation. The eagerness of people to donate was moving, Panhallegon says. “One person drove up and handed us a jar of peanut butter. You can tell the person was living in that car. They gave what they could,” he says. HEALTH PRESCRIPTION: VOLUNTEERING Want to be healthier and live longer? Continue to serve as a Lion. Two recent studies indicate the health benefits of volunteering. New research published in Health Psychology shows that people who reported a major stressor such as job loss were 30 percent more likely to die within five years than those without a crisis. The exception is people who volunteer; they show no increased risk of dying. Another study in Psychology and Aging revealed that adults over 50 who regularly volunteer are less likely to develop high blood pressure. The study correlated 200 hours of volunteering per year with lower blood pressure. ROD BROOKS During a recent trip to Uganda, Rod Brooks visited a school and watched 55 students enthusiastically learning, singing and dancing. Their vibrancy astounded him, considering that just six months earlier the dirt-floor school had opened with five malnourished, listless children. Brooks, CEO of the nonprofit Stop Hunger Now, was witnessing the impact of his organization’s work to feed the hungry. He knows his vision of ending world hunger is ambitious, but as a Raleigh Host Lion in North Carolina, he also knows that when people work together to serve others miraculous things can happen. Why did you choose to focus your career on hunger? After working for 16 years to help develop a children’s museum that educated about our global economy, cultures and connections, I knew that hunger was a huge issue. As I learned more, I realized it’s tied to every major global issue. If we address hunger, we’ll have leverage addressing issues like health, literacy and poverty. How does Stop Hunger Now reach those who are hungry? Volunteers package high-protein, dehydrated meals. We send them to our network of partner organizations in more than 40 countries who distribute the food primarily through school feeding programs, which has proven to be one of the most effective strategies to end hunger. Not only do children need food to learn, but it’s an incentive for parents to send their kids to school. Attendance doubles, triples or increases even more. With more children in school, we have a chance to break the cycle of poverty through education. Are you seeing any improvement in the world’s hunger? Yes. In 2008 roughly 1 billion people were hungry. That number has declined to 870 million—still a huge number. But if you look at it as a percentage of the world’s increasing population, we see improvement. The opportunity to end hunger has never been more important. LCI’s Relieving the Hunger Global Service Action Campaign is coming up. What’s the single most important thing people can do to help? Become involved. We need a grass-roots movement to end hunger in our lifetime. People can do everything from helping with local food drives to supporting agricultural development organizations. Our meal packaging volunteers have told me that as they scoop the food into bags, they realize they’re just one step away from feeding a starving child across the globe. It’s a powerful feeling. Lions know all about grass-roots movements. It’s amazing being part of this global organization. I’ve met with Lions in Uganda who are making a difference just like Lions here. What drew me to being a Lion was an email a friend forwarded to me from Past President Scruggs asking Lions to get involved in the fight against hunger. I knew then that he felt the same way I do about hunger. LCI’s Relieving the Hunger Global Service Action Campaign is in December and January. Find a Stop Hunger Now volunteer meal packaging event in 17 U.S. cities at www.stophungernow.org. Find additional volunteer opportunities with LCI partners The Global Food Banking Network (www.food banking.org) and Feeding America (feedingamerica.org). Download resources for planning your own project on LCI’s website at www.lionsclubs.org (search for “Relieving the Hunger”). 44 YEARS AGO IN THE LION NOVEMBER 1969 “Camille was no lady,” the LION reported. The National Hurricane Center called it “the greatest storm of any kind that has ever affected this nation.” Nearly 400 people died. In coastal Mississippi, almost all 450 Lions in eight clubs suffered severe damage to their homes. Lions from across the nation sent truckload after truckload of clothes, shoes, medical supplies and cleanup items to storm victims. OVERHEARD “I said, ‘I’m going to Oklahoma.’ So I called the team. It happened that quick–just spur of the moment.” –Ken Hall of the Monterey Lions Club Disaster Team in Tennessee on its 17-hour drive to tornado-ravaged Moore, Oklahoma, to clear debris. From the Herald-Citizen. “Being a Lion is probably the most rewarding thing I do. I have been extremely blessed in life so giving back is important. And seeing the impact you have on another person’s life? It’s life-changing.” –Doug Wright of the Lemont Lions Club in Illinois in the Lemont Patch. “We know this is a popular family event, and people like to come here before the holiday starts. Like our motto says: ‘run fast–eat later.’” –Maria Wilson of the Naperville Noon Lions Club in Illinois on the club’s annual Turkey Trot, which draws nearly 8,000 runners. From the Naperville Sun. BY THE NUMBERS 80 Age of Lion Ray Williams, who skydived to raise funds for the League City Lions Club, which he has belonged to since 1962. 12 Fishing rods donated to and refurbished by Coon Rapids Lions in Minnesota, and then given to youths at the Hooked on Fishing, Not Drugs fishing clinic. 130 People who waited in line before doors opened for a coat giveaway held by the Yuba City Sunset Buttes Lions in California. The club has distributed 16,000 coats in 16 years. 684 Classic cars displayed at the “car show by the sea” held by San Pedro Lions in California. 20 Percent of profits from their summer fireworks stand donated to the fire department by Broken Bow Lions in Nebraska. 1,000 Dollar amount of the first prize award in the Big Lake Chili Cook-off sponsored by Manila Lions in Arkansas. 40 People left homeless by a fire at an apartment complex in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada, who stayed at the town’s temporary shelter at the Lions’ clubhouse. 2,500 Square footage of the addition to the Troy Volunteer Fire Department in Idaho thanks to $50,000 donated or raised by Troy Lions and a $50,000 LCIF grant. CLUB OF THE MONTH KNOWLTON, QUEBEC, CANADA YEAR FOUNDED: 1956 MEETING MATTERS: The Knowlton Lions gather for meetings twice a month. Members from neighboring clubs can often be spotted at their monthly dinner meetings. The Lions also enjoy meeting regularly with their twin club from about 20 miles away in Richford, Vermont. BALANCED MEMBERSHIP: Among the club’s 52 members are 12 married couples, helping the membership to be almost 50/50 men and women. The club also boasts having had two sets of fathers and sons who served as presidents between the 1960s and 1980s. HONORING THOSE WHO SERVED: To commemorate Armistice Day each November, the Lions honor local veterans with a Remembrance Day brunch and the laying of a wreath at the community’s cenotaph. Last year more than 300 people participated. A SAFER COMMUNITY: The Lions have donated Jaws of Life for the volunteer fire department, a scanner for the hospital (with help from an LCIF grant) and defibrillators for first responders. They also constructed a pedestrian bridge over a creek between two schools so that schoolchildren can avoid walking on the road. REALIZING A DREAM: When a resident sold 40 acres of land to the town (for $1) in 1966, the Lions began fulfilling their dream of creating a community park. Among the Lions’ contributions are tennis, volleyball and shuffleboard courts, a baseball diamond, a playground and a shady picnic area. As part of LCI’s tree planting goal in 2012, the Lions planted 13 large hardwood trees in the park. HOLIDAY WARMTH: The Lions remember those in need at the holidays by distributing Christmas hampers full of food and toys to families. Last year 80 families were recipients of Lions’ kindness. BARGAINS FOR SERVICE: To raise funds for service projects, the Lions hold the annual Giant Knowlton Garage Sale, the largest event of its kind in the area. This popular event, along with door-to-door and mail fundraising drives and an annual Christmas fruitcake sale, enables the Lions to serve their community year-round. HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS: For 45 years the Lions have held a festive Santa Claus parade. Following the parade, Santa hosts more than 200 children for hot chocolate, goodie bags, stuffed animals, photos and most importantly, the chance to tell Santa that they’ve been good all year.
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