NEW ZEALAND Fertilizer Stand Proves Fruitful Fundraising Effort You might say it’s the precursor to a fruit or flower stand. Looking for a new way to raise money for their club, the Temuka Lions in New Zealand opened a fertilizer stand along a stretch of highway through their town, hoping to entice someone from the more than 7,000 vehicles that travel past each week. The unmanned stand relies on an honesty box pay system and offers up lime, Nitrophoska Blue, rose mix, lawn fertilizer, bone meal, and 5-kilogram bags of general super phosphate. When in season they also stock lily and freesia bulbs. In the short time it’s been open they’ve had very good sales, says John Butler, the Temuka Lion who originally came up with the idea. “On average, we’re getting around 10 to 12 sales per week,” he says. “Our prices are competitive compared to the garden centers and hardware stores.” Their club is no stranger to fertilizer sales. Each spring they host a fertilizer drive that raises about $10,000 (US$7,300). It started when they began selling seaweed garden fertilizer 15 years ago, leveraging the ties of some of their members who are farmers and have access to bulk rates. But the stand is new to them. They built it themselves to keep costs down. “It’s been a very interesting learning curve for us,” says Butler. “We didn’t get started until late spring.” But they have a dedicated group of members who keep the stand stocked regularly. “We have a very good bunch of Lions,” he says. CANADA Vancouver Lions Sing Their Own Tune About 40 years ago Lion Peter Black and his wife, Helen, were on their way to a Lions event in Portland, Oregon when they decided their fledgling Lions club needed a song. During the seven-hour drive from their home in West Vancouver, Canada, they worked out the lyrics, took the melody from the old Scottish song “I Belong to Glasgow,” and presented it to their club. Oh we belong to Lions, From good old Ambleside, And we’re so full of energy, And we’ve got lotsa pride. We’re only some common old working chaps, As anyone here can see, But when we get together for service and fellowship Lions belong to me, hey! The song has since taken on a life of its own. “It’s become a standing thing that we do,” says Black, a founding member of the Ambleside Tiddlycove Lions Club. Other clubs get a kick out of it when, at zone or district meetings, the Ambleside Tiddlycove Lions don’t just wave. “We get up and sing,” says Black. AUSTRALIA Speech Device Gives Young Man a Voice Dylan Bowland can now communicate with his parents, thanks to a generous donation from the Dardanup Lions Club. The South Western Australian club raised more than $2,300 (US$1,800) to help Bowland, who has cerebral palsy, purchase an updated speech device. Bowland has quadriplegic cerebral palsy from a traumatic birth, and requires individualized equipment and expensive technology just to participate in everyday life, says his mother, Theresa. “His disabilities are severe.” When the club heard of the Bowland family’s struggles to purchase the needed equipment, they stepped in. Club President Phil Ottrey says helping those in their community is a priority for the Lions. And with a well-supported raffle at the Dardanup pub every Friday night, a battery drive, and some catering the Lions do, “The money never seems to run short,” he says. Seeing how their support helped Bowland, the Dardanup Lions are looking into helping more people with disabilities. “There is a wide open space where people need help,” says Ottrey. AUSTRALIA Lions Eye Research Strikes It Rich with Gold Nugget Raffle A Lions club deep in the jarrah forest of southwest Australia converted a six-ounce gold nugget into funding for stem cell research to unlock the mysteries of eye disease. The nugget, valued at $12,500 (US$10,000), was raffled throughout the country by the Lions Club of Nannup, raising about $32,000 (US$25,385) for the Lions Eye Institute in Perth. It was won by Lion John Noffke, treasurer of the Lions Club of Springsure, who was on the opposite side of the country in Brisbane when he got the news from club president, Chris Morten. Morten, who suffers from a rare form of retinal damage and has just five percent of normal sight, found the nugget about six to eight inches deep along a remote road north of Perth in 2003 while prospecting with his late wife, Dorothy. Morten says they spent six years prospecting with an old metal detector, and this is the largest nugget they found. Noffke, a Lion for 32 years, says he hasn’t decided what he’ll do with the magical lump of gold other than put it in a safe place. It may be used again for the betterment of research, or may be simply a shiny nest egg. But he will treasure it. “I know the nugget has great sentimental value,” he says. He praises Morten’s donation and his commitment to Lions, the Nannup club, and the Eye Institute. For more than 60 years the institute has been providing scientific answers and innovations to both specialists and patrons, including the synthetic cornea. New stem cell research at the institute is expected to help find answers to many other eye diseases including macular degeneration, says Morten. In a showing of support from man’s best friend, Morten’s sight assistance dog, Tandy, a golden retriever, wears a replica of the nugget on her collar and as her companion says, “sends frantic wags of support to all with low or no vision.”
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