LET US LINK ARMS ➡ NAMASTE! Each one of us can only reach as far as our arms will go. But what happens when I take your hand, and you take your neighbor’s hand? There was a story in the news last year. A family swimming in Panama City Beach, Florida, got caught in a rip current. Nine people—including two children and an elderly woman— were trapped. People heard their cries for help and began forming a human chain. Seventy to 80 strangers, hand-in-hand, were able to pull each swimmer out and to safety. Think about this. Not one of those people could have saved the victims on their own. A police officer tried, but had to turn back, the current was too strong. But together. Together! One by one they pulled the family members to safety. This is what we do as Lions. As Lions, we reach out to people who are drowning in life. But as individuals we can only do so much. Sometimes the current is too strong and help can only reach those in need when we band together. I call this the Power of We. This is what LCIF does. It helps Lions form a human chain to pull people to safety. LCIF can respond in ways individual Lions and Lions clubs cannot. Since 1968, LCIF has given just over US$1 billion in grants. In the wake of natural disasters, LCIF can mobilize funds swiftly, getting much needed help on the ground within days. For example, LCIF awarded a US$100,000 grant to support relief and reconstruction in Puerto Rico after the devastating hurricanes there this fall. That is money that could immediately get to work providing relief for victims. LCIF enables Lions in Indonesia to partner with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, in a campaign to provide vaccines to 95% of Indonesia’s children between the ages of nine months and 16 years by the end of 2018. This is an incredible goal, and one that they are swiftly closing in on. LCIF has eradicated river blindness in Colombia and Ecuador – the first time any country has completely eradicated the disease. They’re doing it! And they’re doing it because they’ve joined hands. They’ve linked arms. They’ve become a greater whole than the sum of their parts. LCI is the world’s biggest service association by membership. However, we should also try to become the world’s biggest in fundraising through LCIF. I never feel right to ask for a lot from a few, so I ask for a little from everyone. Even an average donation of US$1 per week from each member will double our annual funds raised. This month, I challenge you all to look to your neighbors to your left and to your right. How might you join hands? And consider how donating to LCIF may extend the service you do. DR. NARESH AGGARWAL LIONS CLUBS INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT
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