Annual sight and hearing screenings for Rappahannock County’s local students. Winter’s popular Bland Music Contest. Fall’s apple butter sales. Scholarships for local graduates. Shop Like a Lion online sales benefitting volunteer fire and rescue. Hundreds of meals prepared for juvenile cancer patients and their medical aides at summer’s Camp Fantastic. And that familiar yellow and purple Lions Club tent?
Every one of the activities above explains the Rappahannock Lions Club motto: We Serve. Given the scale of the needs and causes that Lions Club volunteers address locally each year, I’d add: We Serve Our Community.
I’m pleased to serve this year as the Lions Club’s president. It’s a privilege to work with men and women who give hundreds of hours of their time each year to help our best and brightest, our young and old and everyone in between.
A key role of Lions is addressing the need for eye examinations. Last year Lions completed hundreds of free screenings at Rappahannock schools, and for those who needed a financial hand, we ensured that eye appointments were covered as well as dozens of pairs of glasses. Over the years, the Lions, with Social Services, also supported part of the cost of hearing aids and hearing exams for our older citizens.
For the past few years, we’ve provided eye examinations for preschoolers. There are eye abnormalities that, if detected and diagnosed as early as 10 months, can prevent a lifetime of vision difficulty and medical bills.
Our sight and hearing visits to local schools are this fall at Rappahannock County Elementary.
Lions members are the folks in the orange vests helping with parking at the Christmas in Little Washington Parade in December, or at the American Festival Concert in July, or erecting that tent for nonprofit events throughout the year.
We sponsor the Bland Music Contest each February in which schoolchildren of all ages compete to go on to the district competition. We provide college scholarships, and help fund the Prom after-party. We help support 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, softball, basketball, powder-puff football, soccer and band. We support the senior center and the holiday Shop with a Cop. And you’ve raised more than $10,000 by clicking first on “ShopLikeALion.org” before buying online at Amazon or WalMart.
We constantly look for new members to join in the spirit of fellowship and service. Members and their partners enjoy opportunities throughout the year for fellowship: An annual summer picnic, Charter Night, A Members’ Night steak cookout and the Christmas Party. We’re actively recruiting for new members, so contact me or our membership chairs Richard Antony (email@example.com) or Bud Meyer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can help us meet these community needs by supporting our fundraising efforts. Come see us at the Quicke Mart starting Sept. 22 for the club’s annual apple butter sale. The apple butter sale easily generates a third of the funds for our community causes.
With the help of more than a dozen great sponsors and local cooks, hundreds of Rappahannock citizens attend our popular annual ChiliFest fundraiser and Draw Down. That event, returning Oct. 13, raises approximately half of what we give away each year. Contact me or a fellow Lion if you want one of the limited tickets.
In closing, remember that the Lions Club serves a great community year round.
The writer is president of the Rappahannock Lions Club