<b>Quilts Offer Comfort</b> Lago Vista Lion Marilyn Gates says that while it wasn’t a dark and stormy night (“Don’t all stories start out this way to grab the readers’ attention?” she asks), it was a typically hot, humid, Texas — and because it was 3 a.m. — dark summer night. Police found an 18-month-old toddler wandering alone down the road. “The little guy was clad only in a dirty diaper,” she says. It wasn’t the first time that police came across a small child who’d escaped his family home in the middle of the night. Gates suggested to police chief Danny Smith how she and Lions could help. Gates and other women in the club formed a quilting circle. Their friends helped. “Quilters are with fabric like drug addicts are with drugs,” she jokes. “I have large tubs of fabric lying around. I don’t have a lot of money, but I can do this for others.” The quilters stitch two per week, and have made and given 26 of the soft fabric quilts to police. Each child given a quilt gets to keep it. “It’s something comforting for them to have and keep. Traumatized kids curl up in them and settle down,” she says. The project is expanding. They’ve begun sending quilts to a local children’s crisis center and hospitalized soldiers at nearby Fort Hood. <b>Clubhouse Provides Refuge from Storm</b> When a dangerous snow and ice storm struck Moriarty, New Mexico, in late March, roads were closed and travelers were forced to seek refuge. Mary Jane Shannon, a past District 40 N governor, says, “Motels were full and many travelers were expecting to spend the night in their cars. Families with small children, as well as elderly relatives, were very concerned about their safety and welfare.” Lion Don Trumball told the fire marshal to use the Lions clubhouse to house stranded motorists. Firefighters brought 100 cots to set up and the building soon began to fill up with strangers who had no place else to go during the storm. A total of 132 men, women and children from 14 states were housed overnight. The group was so thankful to Lions for their hospitality that more than $500 was donated to the club by thankful travelers. <b>Tree Tapping a Community Tradition</b> The third-largest producer of maple syrup in the world is New York, and when spring comes to the state, Lions in Andover get busy. The whole community participates in the annual Maple Festival Lions sponsor in late March. Lions have perfected the art of patience as they begin the tapping process. Roger Drumm explains, “On average, it takes 40 gallons of sap taken from the trees to make one gallon of syrup. Each tap holds a bucket collecting the sap, and there may be two or three buckets hanging from a tree depending on its size.” The sap is then taken to the Lions “sugar shack” for another step in the process. “We have a small evaporator two feet wide and four feet long, where we can boil between five to 10 gallons of water vapor or steam from the sap every hour or so. It takes between four to six hours to make a gallon of syrup,” he says. He credits Lion Ron Steffenhagen for his 30-year tenure in the sugar shack, where kindergarteners “love to visit.” Lions explain the process to them, but Drumm says the highlight of their visit is sampling the warm maple syrup after it has finished cooking. Children and visitors help with tree tapping as Andover Lions set 90 traps that yield three gallons. It’s a tedious process, but one that Lions have been doing for 38 years along with sponsoring the annual festival. Syrup isn’t the only reason to attend the event, though. Lions also provide free eye and diabetes screenings as well at the school where the festival is held. <b>Books for Soldiers</b> Sally Kelavan and other members of the Stafford Aquia Evening Lions Club in Virginia are now on a mission to get books into the hands of recreational readers serving in the military overseas. Since last year, Kelavan and Lions have collected paperbacks and had them shipped them to troops serving in some of the world’s most dangerous areas. It started with a simple message. “My son, Major Andrew Harmon, is in the Army Reserve and three years ago was called to active duty. One day he was able to get an e-mail out stating that many of the soldiers have nothing to read,” she explains. More than 1,500 books have now been collected, shipped and delivered overseas.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Ideas+That+Roar/498103/47007/article.html.