Thursday, 10 March 2011 14:31
You may also have seen a sign on route 32 in Eldersburg, indicating that local Lions club members voluntarily perform litter clean-up for a half-mile stretch of that road.
Or, around Thanksgiving to Christmas each year, you have probably seen roadside signs for the Lions’ annual Florida Citrus Fruit fundraiser. A box of fruit sells for under $20, and Lions volunteer their time to sell the fruit and gather up the proceeds. All of the money raised through citrus sales each year is used in projects helping the Sykesville/Eldersburg community.
Last year, the Freedom District Lions’ Diabetes Awareness Committee funded 13 scholarships for local children to attend Camp Merrick, a summer camp for children with diabetes or sight problems.
Every year at Christmas time, Lions have brought holiday presents and meals to local families in need. They have given money to families whose houses have been destroyed by fire, auto accident victims, and families with troubled teenagers. They have shown up to encourage people in hospitals, nursing homes, and alcohol and drug rehab programs. They support the South Carroll senior center and the Eagle scouts. The list goes on.
If you are not a member, you may not realize all that the Lions do for your community in a given month. The Freedom District Lions Club has nearly 70 members ranging in age from 19 to 85. They are business owners, entrepreneurs, lawyers, government workers, insurance agents, real estate agents, firemen, police officers, housewives, retirees, and students. What they all have in common is the willingness to donate their time to help others and serve their community.
The Freedom District Lions Club meets on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at Messiah Lutheran Church at 6:9 sharp. One can sense the pride and humor of the group in their statement posted on the web site: “anyone can meet at 7:00!”
At the meetings, there are several committees, each with a Chair, that determine which projects they will handle and how. Basically, if any Lions members see or hear about a need in the community, they bring it to the table and find a way to help. The Lions have a storehouse full of health equipment that they loan out regularly to residents in need, with Lions volunteering their time to pick up and drop off the equipment.
Leo clubs are sponsored by Lions clubs in local high schools to inspire volunteerism and leadership in young people ages 12 and up. There are more than 5,700 Leo clubs worldwide. The Eldersburg Leo club meets at Liberty High School in Eldersburg, with the older Lions mentoring the students in giving to the community. Many of the students will be seen helping at the carnival that comes to town every summer.
The Lions Club was founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones, a Chicago business man who told his fellow entrepreneurs that he felt it was important for them to give back to their communities in tangible ways. By 1920, the group was international, and today it boasts 45,000 clubs and 1.35 million members worldwide.
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