The Amherst Lions Club in New York has donated $7,500 to outstanding graduating high school seniors for two years. Each $500 scholarship is awarded to a student in financial need chosen from each of Amherst’s five high schools. “We hope that our efforts to give financial assistance to students at the beginning of their college careers may eventually result in new Lions’ supporters—and maybe even someday new Lions,” says Bob Sikorski, president. The club also provides eye exams and glasses for children and teens in need and supports a youth coffee house. “We decided two years ago to prioritize service to youth,” he adds. The Magnolia Lions Club in Arkansas donated $7,500 to Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester, Michigan. Jekyll Island Lions in Georgia helped distribute packets with safety information to the island’s 617 homes. Lions went door-to-door to personally give residents this information, which included fliers on the importance of having visible house numbers and smoke alarms. Lions also initiated a project of helping residents purchase house address signs with reflective numbers. After a bear gained access to one of two concession trailers operated by the Gibsons Lions Club in British Columbia, Canada, tearing it apart so badly it couldn’t be repaired, Lions had to build a new one. The trailer, one of two used by the club to sell its popular French fries, was not insured for bear attacks. Lions lost a significant source of their fundraising revenue. Lion Dave Morane, his wife, Brenda, son Steve, and Lions Bob Nordlund and Greg Collins worked together to build a new portable concession trailer on a steel frame. Costing $8,000, the trailer is also now insured against bear destruction. Brookfield Lions in Connecticut donated food to a social services agency to help a family in need. The Lions of District 24-D have provided more than 2,000 credit card-sized plastic vision magnifiers to hospital emergency rooms in Virginia and northeast North Carolina. The 5X magnifiers are designed to help patients who experience a medical emergency and do not have their glasses with them in order to sign medical papers. Canso Lions in Nova Scotia, Canada, sponsored a breakfast with Santa. Lions cooked pancakes and sausages, and many families that attended brought donations for a food bank. The club also gave donations to the public library and a medical school student to travel to Africa on a mission. Merrill Lions in Wisconsin gave $1,000 to Never Forgotten Honor Flight to send two World War II veterans on a one-day trip to visit the war memorials in Washington, D.C. The Hazleton Lions Club in Pennsylvania purchased a “wheelchair” swing for disabled children to use at a park. The Emo and District Lions Club in Ontario, Canada, helped club member Deb Firth on a mission to Guatemala by donating $800. The money was used to construct two of the 16 dwellings that Firth and other volunteers constructed for some of Guatemala’s poorest families in El Tejar. Spokane Central Lions in Washington provide reading glasses to defendants required to appear in the community court held in the public library. Many of them are homeless and are unable to read the paperwork associated with their cases. If a defendant needs prescription glasses and Lions determine the need, the club pays for a pair. Most offenses are misdemeanors that require only community service. The Tokai Lions Club in South Africa sponsors a fundraising Quiz Night for local businesses to raise money to fund projects for families in need. Lions have helped support a project to provide baby care products for newborns whose families can’t afford supplies and have funded community outreach programs to feed the poor. Quiz team participants also bring children’s books to each event to help Lions promote literacy. The Emmitsburg Lions Club in Maryland raised more than $8,000 to purchase a mobile vision screener and supportive materials. The screener uses infrared photo retinoscopy and is user-friendly with children. Several Lions attended a training session to learn how to use the new device, which will screen all children in community schools. The Germiston Lions Club in South Africa and a church congregation provided clothing and blankets to victims of mob violence in a poor area. Aurora Noon Lions in Illinois cosponsored a holiday party with a special education organization for hearing-impaired children. A Santa used sign language to hear the children’s wishes, and they were also each given a present. More than 100 children, parents and caregivers attended the free event. The Tellico Village Lions Club in Tennessee sponsors monthly health fairs in two counties. They measure blood pressure and glucose and screen vision. Approximately 50 percent of those tested are referred for further treatment. Lions purchase eyeglasses for those who are financially in need. Ashland Lions in Massachusetts collected two tons of food at a local market to restock the town’s food pantry. Lions distributed a list of needed nonperishable food to shoppers as they entered the store and were asked to purchase one or more items while they shopped for themselves. Lions also gave money to each teacher in an elementary school to purchase supplies for students who couldn’t afford them. The Centerville Lions Club in Indiana has loaned medical and convalescent equipment at no cost to the community for 50 years. Included are bedside chairs, risers, crutches, wheelchairs, canes and walkers. “The items are checked out as needed by members of the community and returned when not needed anymore,” says Lion James Resh. “We purchase some of the equipment, and other pieces are donated to the club.” Lions also donate scholarships, pay for eyeglasses for students in need, sponsor a 4-H club and plan annual Halloween celebrations for children. Safety Harbor Lions in Florida sponsored a presentation at the library for community members to learn about diabetic retinopathy. Two ophthalmologists and representatives of companies that make medical devices for the management of diabetes gave updates on research and treatment regarding diabetic retinopathy. The Novato Lions Club in California provided a Brailler for a boy in Argentina after learning from a local couple who visited there that the child, enrolled in a school for the blind, needed one. The cost for a new Brailler was prohibitive in Argentina, but President Connie Marelich was able to secure one that was refurbished by inmates participating in a prison program to repair the machines. Okanagan Falls Lions in British Columbia, Canada, have collected 43,000 pairs of eyeglasses since 2010. Lion Colin Van Blerk drives within a 250-mile radius to pick up eyeglasses donated in several collection boxes. The Lions Club of Chandpur Rupali in Bangladesh sponsored a painting and essay contest among schoolchildren to promote the country’s Independence Day celebration. The El Cajon Host Lions Club Foundation in California donated $36,000 to several organizations. Among recipients were Guide Dogs of the Desert, the San Diego Center for the Blind, Canine Companions for Independence, Lions Camp Jack and the Boys and Girls Club of East County. The George Lions Club in South Africa arranged for 50 adults and special needs children to have their vision tested and paid for eyeglasses as prescribed. Lions also paid for cataract surgeries for two senior citizens. The Avon Grove Lions Club in Pennsylvania has amassed approximately $95,000 in medical equipment that it loans out to community members. “We probably loan a piece out to at least 40 or 50 people each month,” says Lion Ben Keller of the large array of hospital beds, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs and other equipment Lions keep stored. In New York, Dover Lion Roger Callahan has personally collected and delivered more than 8,000 eyeglasses to the eyeglass recycling center in Albany. Wasaga Beach Lions in Ontario, Canada, conduct a roadside cleanup twice yearly, screen the vision of every kindergarten student and sponsor an annual student speaking contest for elementary schools. Lions clubs in Colorado helped provide eyeglasses for a mission to Uganda, where more than 600 students and staff at a primary school were screened and given glasses as needed. Cullman Lions in Alabama purchased 17 red Radio Flyer wagons for the Children’s Hospital of Alabama. The wagons are used to transport pediatric patients around the hospital instead of wheelchairs. District 204 Lions in Guam sponsored their first fundraising golf tournament. More than 120 players participated and several businesses and corporations donated $15,000 in sponsorships and prizes.
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