By Sarrah Peters
The Lions Club is a fairly well-known service group with 45,000 clubs in over 200 countries and 1.35 million members. The club’s goals are to eradicate preventable blindness and support the community.
The Gadsden Lions Club works towards these goals with its many projects. The Lions Club sponsors the Joel Helms Lions Eye Clinic, which is held Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m at the Family Services Center located at 821 East Broad Street in Gadsden. The clinic is income-based to provide free eye-care and glasses to those in need. Local doctors donate their time. Gadsden’s club sponsors children for Camp Seale Harris, a summer camp for children with diabetes. The club nominates high school band students for the Lions Club International All Star Alabama High School Band. The club supports the Lions Sight Conservation, which funds eye treatment and surgeries to patients throughout Alabama. The club lends support to the Lions East/West Baseball Tournament, which gives talented high school juniors and seniors a chance to show their skills. The club also funds the Lions Leadership Camp, a weekend camp on leadership for high school students.
To fund these projects, the club raises money through the Lions Pecan Sale, which is held in the fall before Thanksgiving and sells only locally harvested pecans. The club also holds a Lions Pancake Breakfast. The breakfast is sponsored by Applebee’s and held in its facility. This year’s pancake breakfast is coming up, probably in May.
The Gadsden Lions Club has also done a plethora of smaller fundraising projects including road blocks, raffles, collecting donations at Wal-Mart and selling mops and brooms made by students at the Talladega School for the Blind.
The Gadsden Lions Club is also planning a new fundraiser called Lions Dinner in the Dark, where diners eat in the dark to demonstrate the difficulties of blindness.
According to Membership Chairman Tyler L. Barnes, Jr., the Gadsden Lions Club has about 25 members, but is looking to double its numbers. To do this, the club is running a “just ask” membership campaign.
“We want to encourage members to invite people they know,” said Barnes.
The Gadsden Lions Club meets every first and third Tuesday of the month at the Senior Center from 12 to 1 p.m. The next meeting will be held April 5. The club eats lunch and hosts different speakers each meeting.
For more information, call Tyler Barnes at 256-442-4619.