Opinion & Editorial, Springfield

Lions Club: Doing the work for the good of serving others

Considered a “newbie,” while I have only been a member of The Springfield Lions Club for two-and-a-half years, the association of the club has come to mean quite a lot to me.

Let’s be clear: The stigma that the Lions Club is only for “old people” is far from the truth.

There is no set age or time requirement. Even the younger generations are welcome and encouraged to join as high school students, affectionately referred to as “Leos.” We have members ranging from young adults, college-age, the parents of young families, middle-aged parents, and the retired.

The time involved completely depends on you. For some, it might be only when there is a special project going on. For others, they may have a chunk of time during the year  specifically devoted to Lions. Retirees may find more opportunities than some to become fully invested and involved in club activities, but it’s really about doing what you can, when you can, for the good of serving others.

It’s true what they say:  It takes a village of people together – serving, helping, working – to create a better place to live.

When I first joined the Springfield Lions Club, I was still working full-time and didn’t typically have Saturdays off. I didn’t always have the ability or availability to come to the weekly meetings that are held every Monday at noon at Roaring Rapids Pizza Co. I appreciated their flexibility and willingness to continue including me when there were projects on Saturdays that I could make it to. I enjoyed getting to know all the members on those Saturdays that gave me the reward of giving to others – serving for the good of the community and gaining so much self-satisfaction of a job well done. It allowed me a deeper sense of purpose and a broader scope for which I’m grateful for.

Fast forward two-and-a-half years, now that I’m “retired,” I have truly immersed myself in the Springfield Lions Club. I’m expanding my horizons to become a part of the district leadership and have gained friendships that will last for the rest of my life and have had new experiences that have even allowed me to travel.

Lions International is in the business of helping others through our eight global missions: vision, hunger, diabetes, childhood cancer, environment, youth, disaster relief, and humanitarian efforts.

We are the largest service organization in the world, putting us in over 200 countries and regions that expand the heart and service in the global mission of people helping people. We are all volunteers, too.

The Springfield Lions have a number of ongoing and upcoming local projects to support our community, including: 

• Requesting gently-used prescription eyeglasses and vision screening for elementary and middle schools

• Dimes for Diabetes donations

• Scholarships for local high schoolers

• Reading glasses distribution and collecting eyeglasses and used hearing aids

• Camp sponsorships

• Flags for first graders

• Road cleanup

•Collecting bottles and cans

We also have a few fundraising projects that we do, in addition to our annual golf tournament, raffle, and plant sale.

We are supporting McKenzie River Holiday Farm Fire families, CHETT programs emergency funds, Bags of Love, Keep the Promise for Oregon Lions Sight and Hearing Foundation, Heartfelt House Springfield, FOOD for Lane County, Veterans Honor Flights, candlelighters for Children with Cancer, Way Home Ukraine relief, McKenzie Bible Fellowship food and clothing, and White Bird Clinic.

We invite you to visit us at our next meeting to see what we’re all about.

Monica Henkle is the vice president of the Springfield Lions Club. The club was the nonprofit spotlight at this week’s Roast, Toast, & Boast, a networking event that spotlights women in leadership and nonprofits in the Southern Willamette Valley. The next RTB will be held on Monday, Aug. 14 at 8:30 a.m. at Pegasus Playhouse, 402 Main St. in Springfield.

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