MASSENA - The president of the Massena Lions Club says their group is alive and well, but theyre looking for new members to join them.
Penny Pullmain said their membership currently stands at 14 people.
Were alive and well, but we are trying to recruit. Were working on a couple of different projects to get out to the community. One of the biggest issues Ive seen is that were a well-kept secret. I dont believe that a lot of the community understands what we do or what we have done in the past. I think thats the key part of getting it out there so that maybe we can get some people to join, she said.
Lions Clubs International is the worlds largest service club organization with more than 1.3 million members in approximately 45,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world. Since 1917, Lions Clubs have aided the blind and visually impaired and made a strong commitment to community service and serving youth throughout the world.
Locally, the Massena Lions Club held its annual White Cane Day Friday at the U.S. Post Office in Massena. The Lions Club will also be doing vision screenings for younger children Saturday during Home Depots Safety Day, according to Ms. Pullmain, and they also organize the annual Election Day breakfast.
I dont think a lot of people realize that (the Election Day breakfast) is done by the Lions Club, she said. There are so many things that are done, but its a well-kept secret. People think Rose Day, but there are other things. Were working on different things we can do to get some enthusiasm and interest. This is not just a group of people that get together and have lunch.
She said money they raise, including through the White Cane Day fundraiser, will allow them to meet pressing needs in the community, including funding for Massena Meals on Wheels, The Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul and Massena Neighborhood Center.
The funding will also allow them to join with the Knights of Columbus Auxiliary to sponsor a holiday celebration for NYSARC clients.
Money raised also helps with the cost of eye exams and glasses for the less fortunate in the community. In addition, it is used to help purchase supplies for their Adopt-a-Platoon program, provide upkeep of their local vision screener, provide free vision screening for pre-kindergarten children and pay for a scholarship.
Those donations are part of what gives us the ability to do this, Ms. Pullmain said. Last year one of the big things was that we provided about $5,000 for a local person to have eye surgery and it saved his eye. As well as making a monetary donation, it was a matter of coordinating with the hospital and the doctors and the whole bit.
One of their future goals is to restart a Leos Club at the school to get younger community members involved.
One of our members is trying to get that going. You need to get kids in school to understand the importance of volunteering, she said.
Club members used to meet for lunch every Wednesday, but have now scaled back to every first and third Wednesday of the month. The meetings begin at 12:15 p.m. at Dars Place.
It was just very difficult for business people especially to get away and commit to that every Wednesday, she said.
There is no defined time involvement for Lions Club members, Ms. Pullmain said.
They dont have to make every meeting. We are looking for people to be involved, but it doesnt mean youre going to have to commit to five hours a week. It could be five hours a month, she said.
Some meetings are held outside of the area, but those are not required either, she said.
Theyre highly encouraged to go to them. If they cant, thats fine too, Ms. Pullmain said.
We need to get some people who do have some time. When I first joined, it was, Guys, its not going to happen every week. They were like, Thats fine, whatever you can do, she said. Maybe youve got somebody who is good on the computer and can take care of the Facebook page for us. Thats time theyre putting in.
For more information or to get involved with the Massena Lions Club, please contact Membership Chair Darryl Chase at 315-769-6407, Past District Governor and District Membership Carol Perry at 315-769-2584 or Ms. Pullmain at 315-79-3525.
They can even show up one day at Dars for a meeting, Ms. Pullmain said.