Guest Column

Somers Lions Celebrate the Annual Gift of Giving

On a beautiful spring evening overlooking the bucolic countryside of Somers at the Anglebrook Golf Club, the Somers Lions Club celebrated a night for its generous charitable donations. It was the culmination of a year of hard work and volunteerism, which has brought about the opportunity to help where help is needed.

Club President Chris Hanley graciously hosted and reminded the guest-filled room of the Lions motto, “We Serve.” In Somers, a town full of munificent people and businesses, Somers Lions, in its 51st year, have consistently given to our local community: outreach programs, charities and nonprofit organizations. These programs have assisted a diverse group of people of all ages.

As always, the mood was light and full of joy—as Lions hearts always are—ready to celebrate and enjoy the evening’s festivities. The honored guests from the charitable organizations were welcomed and asked to bring us up to date on their recent activities as each was presented with a check. The touching stories of the lives we had all touched was a well-deserved reward. Out of the many stories told—there were a few that stood out—SPARC and Northern Westchester Community Center are two here we share now.

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The SPARC story, told by Jessica Natalo, was about an autistic boy who was able to enjoy a music program because of our donation. This program was so successful that he was now interacting and talking to others, which he rarely did before. Lions know they make a difference from the money they raise, but hearing this story made it tangible. It touched someone’s life.

From Northern Westchester Community Center, we heard from an original board member, Fran Dowling, and Michele Boniello, and how times have changed. The economy has increased the demand for food and clothing. Yet, through it all, they have been able to keep dignity front and center for their recipients, allowing each to “shop” their own food and clothing instead of a “hand out.” Setting up the center in that way has been at the heart of its mission.

“Wow, that’s great,” said many Lions. With that and another story about donations, the realization grew around the room that there’s more work to do! They not only accepted our monetary donations, but physical items as well. In true Lionism, all in attendance took notice that even baby wipes, canned goods or clothing can always help if personally dropped off. A Lion never sleeps.

It was very gratifying to hear every story and every challenge met. It was an incredible celebration for the recognition of a very productive year. It feels as if Lions never take off their work belts, hats or boots. Most importantly, they show up with a big heart willing to help. Here are the organizations who were present at our celebration to receive their donations. Please note: we are proud to say there are other recipients that were not present, many of whom we have long term commitments to:

  • Blythedale Children’s Hospital—$5,000
  • Drug Crisis in Our Backyard—$8,200
  • Friends of Karen—$5,000
  • Make-a-Wish Foundation—$2,000
  • North East Westchester Special Recreation—$3,500
  • Northern Westchester Community Center—$2,000
  • SPARC—$4,000
  • YMCA—$5,000

There was so much pride that night for the work we do. The evening ended with new friendships and new ideas to help others as we start a new year. These are the events we host and run to raise the monies we give away: from the Somers Track Meet, the Carnival to the upcoming Independence Day Celebration—where we raffle our famous Mustang!

This year’s Independence Day Celebration is to be held this coming Saturday, June 24, at Reis Park. Bring a blanket for the fireworks, burgers, games, face painting and more—please come enjoy a fun-filled day on us. We all look forward to seeing you there! We are also still selling raffle tickets to the car—all proceeds going to our charitable organizations. So please look for us online, either on our website at or on Facebook at

Better yet, come join us at a meeting and become a member. We are looking always for new members with great new ideas and ready to have some fun!

Thank you, Somers, for always supporting us!

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Guest Column.

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