SOMERS, N.Y.-There are many myths surrounding the Somers Lions Club: “It’s an all-male club,” “a business networking group,” “an old men’s club,” “an event coordination group.” Let’s start by saying all of these suppositions could not be further from the truth.
The Somers Lions Club is a 52-year-old, all-volunteer organization with a mission of bringing hope and help to the needy and to host service projects that benefit our community. The club is an affiliate of Lions Club International, the world’s largest service club organization with more than 46,000 clubs and 1.4 million-plus members. We are proud to have two of our charter members, Jerry Billingsley and John Harkins, still very active in our club!
The Somers Lions Club is 126 members strong, adding one to two members every month. Our members come from all walks of life: business owners, corporate, legal, medical, education, retirement. More than 25 members are female.
Our mission is to make a positive impact on our local community by helping those in need and to support the vision of Lions International. We are driven by four pillars of service: local families in need, diabetes, pediatric health and vision. These are supported by our fundraising efforts (carnival, car raffle, golden oldies, pancake breakfast). Furthermore, we support local families in need by repairing homes, providing food and gas cards, oil deliveries and car repairs, to name a few.
We also support organization such as Friends of Karen, Make-A-Wish, Blythedale Children’s Hospital, Vacation Camp for the Blind, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, BluePath Autism Service Dogs, Camp Sunshine, YMCA, Somers Senior Citizens, scholarships for Somers graduating seniors, summer camp scholarships for local children, local Scout and sports groups and veterans. In our spare time, we love to thank our community for its support by hosting the Joe Wynn/Somers Lions Track Meet, Independence Day Picnic, Fall Festival/Trail of Terror and Health Expo/Blood Drive.
For those in the community who don’t feel they have the time to work on hands-on projects but would still like to support our community through donations, we have set up the Somers Angels, which is a fund within the Somers Lions Charitable Foundation (501c3) that accepts donations to satisfy acute financial needs, such as food, heating oil, emergency auto or home repairs, funeral expenses, etc. We provide help via direct payments to providers and pre-paid cards to those in need.
The Somers Lions also sponsor the Somers LEO Club, a youth (ninth through 12th grade) organization of Lions Clubs International. We are excited to have one of the largest and most active LEO Clubs in New York State, with more than 200 members who perform more than 3,400 hours of volunteer service every year. We encourage our members to explore their leadership traits by obtaining experience through the opportunity of participating in local community service projects. They are often working, side by side, with Somers Lions and community leaders, who offer mentorship, guidance and a laugh while working to improve the lives of many in our community. The LEOs just completed a $27,000 “Polar Plunge” fundraising effort for Special Olympics New York.
I have to say, this is a wonderful group of caring people who give selflessly every day to help those in need and to make our community a better place for all.
A special thank you to our community for supporting us each year and allowing us to do what we do. If you are interested in finding out more about the Somers Lions, please come and join us for a meeting held the first and third Tuesday of every month. More information can be found at somerslionsclub.org or by calling 914-302-4546.
Paul LaSpina is president of the Somers Lions Club.