The Lions Clubs do more than sell brooms

Published 4:19 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) recently received the highest ranking possible from Charity Navigator, demonstrating LCIFs commitment to being a leading foundation. In 2007 LCIF was named the number one non-governmental organization worldwide with which to partner.

LCIF gives every cent of every dollar to humanitarian projects. Administrative costs are paid by interest earned on long-term investments, allowing for 100 percent of every donation to have a direct impact on the lives of people around the world.

Locally the Lions District 31-A, led by District Governor Marti Hill, has 55 clubs, nearly 1200 members and covers the area from Lincolnton to Murphy. Columbus, Landrum and Tryon have Lions clubs in our area.

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Local clubs are active with help for the visually impaired, the homeless, Habitat for Humanity, Diabetes Awareness, collecting used glasses that are refurbished and used in third world countries, feeding and clothing children in need. Lions assist people that are financially in need with the purchase of glasses and cataract surgeries.

The Columbus Lions also lend medical equipment (walkers, wheelchairs, etc) and serve Polk County Visually Impaired Persons (VIPS) by a luncheon in mid year and home visits with presents at Christmas.

Lions have owned and operated the Marjorie McCune Memorial Center located in Black Mountain for 30 years. This is an assisted living facility that gives a warm place to the 62 residents now making the center their home.

Statewide the North Carolina Lions Foundation (NCLF) owns and operates Camp Dogwood, a camp for the blind located on Lake Norman, and the 21st Century Vision Van that travels the state giving much needed eye exams to adults and children. Nearly 300,000 children and adults have been screened since this program began. Lions offer matching funds for local clubs to assist with the cost of eye exams, glasses and eye surgeries; give educational grants to children of visually impaired parents and provide every white cane that is given to a visually impaired person in the state of North Carolina.

Lions continue to educate the public on the importance, benefit and growing need of organ and tissue donations for life-saving transplants and Diabetes awareness. NC Lions have established the Wake Forest University Eye Center, the NC Lions Pediatric Eye Care Center at Duke University and the NC Lions Diabetic Eye Care Center at UNC-Chapel Hill.

NCLF annually gives grants to help organizations with service projects: Radio Reading Service of North Carolina which receives support for equipment and radios for the blind and visually impaired; the Governor Morehead School for the Blind athletic and arts programs that do not receive government funding; and the NC Lions Visually Impaired Persons Fishing Tournament. Every year during the second week of October there will be over 500 visually impaired people fishing at this tournament.

The Lions also help through donations to Lions Club International which is fighting blindness and sickness all over the world. Lions are always there when there is a disaster in any country. The Lions of this area are actively seeking dedicated people that would like to make a difference in their communities, their state and the world.

If you are interested in becoming a Columbus Lion, call Pat Recker at 828-894-2615.