The Roundup -

Lions Club Provides Voluntary Services Through Community Involvement & International Cooperation

 

Lion Craig Price helps set up Memorial Day Flags in Veteran's Memorial Park prior to the parade. This is just one of many ways the Sidney Lions Club volunteers their time to the community. (Photo taken by Kelly Reisig)

For the Sidney Lions Club, 2016 was another busy year serving their community. Lions International was formed in 1917 with their mission being: To create and foster a spirit of understanding among all people for humanitarian needs by providing voluntary services through community involvement and international cooperation. It is the world's largest service club with 1.4 million members in 210 countries and geographical locations.

The Sidney Lions Club has about 50 members, and takes special pride in being one of the few places in the state with an active high school Leo Club. One Leo Club project this year was raking yards throughout the community, and assisting their fellow Lions in collecting pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House.

"Leo Club is important because it builds young people as leaders and gets them involved in their community," said Sidney Lions Club President Kelly Reisig. "A lot of the time Leo Club members go on to become Lions."

Lions help display the Memorial Day flags in Veteran's Memorial Park, and talk about the importance of the national flag when they hand them out during their Flags for First Graders project.

They sponsor and organize a Youth Track Meet for grade-schoolers each year. They hold a pie social at Crestwood and the Lodge, volunteer their time with Meals on Wheels and at the Food Bank, and have an Adopt-a-Highway project south of Sidney. Project Gratitude, the Senior Coalition Color Run, LVA Adult Literacy Program, the MonDak Heritage Center's Shakespeare in the Park, the Diabetes Walk, Post-Prom, Sidney's K-9 Unit, the Richland County Boys & Girls Club, and the Veteran's Day dinner every other year are all organizations and events that the Sidney Lions Club have invested themselves in through volunteerism. Additionally, they have awarded $31,700 in annual scholarships since 1982.

One of the things that Lions Club is most widely known for is their Sight & Hearing Foundation; in 1925 Helen Keller challenged them to be Knights of the Blind, and in addition to supporting the Lions Club International Sight & Hearing Foundation, Sidney Lions have eyeglasses and hearing aid collections, offer partial financial assistance for eye screening, support Northwest Eye Bank and leader Dogs of America, and just this year purchased a PlusOptix machine. PlusOptix allows for a quick and easy eye test that screens for eye disease as well as vision; this allows them to thoroughly screen more people in a shorter amount of time. Sidney Lions Club, in cooperation with the Health Department, took PlusOptix into Richland County schools this year, and plan on making its services available to others in the community in the future.

The Sidney Lions Club is funded through community donations and annual fundraising events such as their Christmas wreath sales, their scholarship breakfast, mint sales, and the Richland County Fair People Movers project, where they provide golf cart rides from people's cars to the fair entrance, and vice versa.

"We have something going on every month," commented Reisig. "We are very fortunate to have a fantastic membership; our members are a very actively involved and committed group."

The Sidney lions Club is always ready to welcome new members, and anyone interested is invited to stop by their meetings at noon the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at the Sidney Elks Lodge, 123 3rd St SW.

 

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