Giving Back

Anonymous 'Angels' Look over Somers

a68c8ff1f0300c5e1e5e_38850.jpg
The Somers Lions introduced the Angels program at its 50th anniversary gala. Credits: File Photo
a68c8ff1f0300c5e1e5e_38850.jpg

SOMERS, N.Y. - For almost a century, Lions Clubs International has quietly come to the aid of people in need. The Somers chapter is no exception.

In existence only half as long as their global organization, the Lions of Somers have been no less committed to the notion that neighbors help neighbors in need, quietly and anonymously.

But in a program that was rolled out last Friday at its 50th anniversary gala, the Somers Lions Club will begin to recognize—formally, if still anonymously—the generous contributions of people who will henceforth be known simply as “Somers Angels.”

Sign Up for E-News

“We have established the Somers Angels program, where individuals and organizations can donate $250, $500, $1,000 or higher,” the club’s Finance Committee chairman, Gary Forbes, said. The program, approved by the Lions board last month, represents “a new, unique way of soliciting donations, granting small wishes and publicizing the program for neighbors to help neighbors,” he said.

When a donor’s money has bailed out someone in desperate straits, the contributing Angel will be notified immediately. Both donor and recipient will be anonymous.

Founded in 1917 as a humanitarian service organization, Lions Clubs International today has well over a million members in some 45,000 chapters worldwide, all of them pledged to observe the Lions’ enduring motto, “We Serve.”

In Somers, where membership tops 110, that service has manifested itself primarily in small-scale financial assistance—an average outlay of $500 to $1,000—to help residents in a temporary bind.

“We are called upon quite often to help with acute financial needs: Broken-down cars, food gift cards, fill oil tanks, take care of home zoning infractions, etc.,” Forbes said. “We have never let anyone down that I am aware of.”

Alerted to instances of need from a variety of sources, both informal and institutional, the Lions respond in a variety of ways, including where appropriate with donated services and expertise, finding reduced pricing and dipping into deep pockets to pay necessary expenses. “We respond very quickly, sometimes right away or within hours,” Forbes said.

The Lions do not give cash directly, instead providing shopping help like the food cards or picking up the tab for things like auto repairs. 

The caseload varies. “There are some months we don’t have anything,” Forbes recalled, “and then…you have three in one day. Urgent requests.”

Donations to the Lions’ charitable fund, all of them tax-deductible, directly benefit a number of local charities, including Friends of Karen, Guiding Eyes for the Blind’s Heeling Autism program, Blythedale Children’s Hospital and Vacation Camp for the Blind, Camp Sunshine, the YMCA, Somers Senior Citizens and the Scouts. The club also awards four scholarships annually to Somers High School graduates.

But the Angels program, with its immediate feedback when a donor’s money is put to good use, is expected to feel closer in spirit to the community helping hands of yore.

“When I talk to people,” Forbes said, “whether they’re Lions or not, about some of the things we get involved in, they ask, ‘How can I help? How can I get involved?’”

Questions like that inspired the Somers Angels initiative. “We know there are individuals in our community who would like to gain the satisfaction of participating in this needed service,” Forbes said. The Angels program, with its specified donation levels and the notification given to each benefactor, not only acknowledges receipt of a contribution but also “personalizes it, even though [donors remain] anonymous.”

“Donors will be anonymous to the recipient, and vice versa,” Forbes said. “However, we will report to the donor immediately upon releasing their donation.”

While the Somers community over the years has been generous in supporting the Lions’ efforts, demand continues to grow and, in tough times, money does not buy what it once did.

“Years ago a $250 food card would go a long way,” Forbes noted. “Nowadays, not so much. A tank of oil [is a] minimum $600 and so on.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Somers

My Thinking Chair

Some time ago, I went to Home Goods with a friend to look for picture frames. As we entered the store, I saw an arm chair on display. It was upholstered in neutral shades of cream and taupe, had soft, easy lines and looked quite comfortable. I sat in it and immediately felt embraced in pleasant warmth.  

I immediately knew this chair would look great in my bedroom; I went to the ...

Stop the Madness

March Madness seems to be getting madder and madder each year, and there’s going to come a time when the whole month is given a full mental evaluation and finally committed to a psychiatric institution.

It’s no secret that March is bipolar. One day it’s acting like a lion. The next day it’s acting like a lamb. Baaa, I say. We celebrated the first day of spring with a ...

Before James Bond

I was 8 years old, addicted to Nancy Drew mysteries, “The Shadow” and “The Green Hornet.”  The world was at war. We were inundated with catchy slogans: “A slip of the lip can sink a ship,” “Don’t talk, chum, chew Topps Gum,” and superheroes abounded.  

My father, a doctor, was three years older than his brother. They looked very ...

Why Do Kids Hate Math?

Dear Dr. Linda,

I am in second grade and have a problem about math. My teacher just keeps giving me homework and it’s driving me crazy. Because she keeps giving it to me on weekends and spring and summer breaks. And it’s only one level and it’s too hard. But the other people who have special needs get to be moved into a higher or lower group and they learn even more because ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, April 20, 4:00 PM

Somers Library, Somers

Somers Library Blockbuster Used Book Sale

Giving Back

Sat, April 21, 9:00 AM

Somers High School, Somers

Blood Drive sponsored by Somers Women's Club

Giving Back

Sat, April 21, 4:00 PM

Somers Library, Somers

Somers Library Blockbuster Used Book Sale

Giving Back