Lions clubs

Lions with the Alberton and O’Leary Lions Clubs are hoping to encourage new members to join their organizations and will be holding membership information meeting on Nov. 20 at St. Anthony’s Legion in Bloomfield at 7:30 pm. In photo: Back row: L-R: Alberton Lions Club members Herb Meggison and Grant Milligan with O’Leary Lions Club members Eugene Shaw and Clair Peters. Front row: O’Leary Lions Club members Isabel Yuill and Nola Shaw. Melissa Heald photo

Two West Prince Lions Clubs are in dire need of new members.

“Our membership is just getting older,” said Lion Clair Peters.

That’s why the Lions Clubs of Alberton and O’Leary will be holding a joint membership information meeting on Nov. 20 at St. Anthony’s Legion in Bloomfield at 7:30 pm.

Lions Clubs are service club organizations that raise money for worthy causes. Clubs plan and participate in a wide variety of service projects.

The purpose of the meeting on the 20th is to encourage service minded individuals in the area to become involved with their community through the Lions Clubs.

“We need some younger people,” said Mr Peters, who is a member of the O’Leary Lions Club. “We also need more women.”

The clubs of Alberton and O’Leary have a shared history. In 1966, the O’Leary Lions Club sponsored the Alberton Lions Club to become an official club. When Alberton received their charter they did so with an initial membership of 20 members. Both clubs at some point had up to about 30 members, but currently, Alberton has 12 members while O’Leary has 16.

Forty years ago Mr Peters joined the Lions Club in Ontario.

“I joined because of the community service the Lions were doing,” he said. “We were in a small community, a lot smaller than Alberton, and they looked after the minor baseball people and the minor hockey people. They were always out there. They weren’t raising a lot of money, but they were always out there doing community service. That’s why I joined.”

Both O’Leary and Alberton have numerous service projects they perform in their respective communities and each club donates to several organizations.

Service projects for Alberton Lions Club includes school bursaries, medical travel expenses, benefit donations, used eye glasses collections and the Prince County Exhibition. The club donates to the IWK Children’s Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Prince County Hospital, Western Hospital, Children’s Wish Foundation, Diabetic Association, Canadian Red Cross, Transportation West and many others.

For O’Leary, service projects include the annual Senior Christmas Tea, school bursaries, Potato Blossom Festival, used eye glasses collection and sleep apnea collection to be refurbished by Lung Association program.

They make donations to the IWK Children’s Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Prince County Hospital, O’Leary Community Hospital, Christmas Daddies, Transportation West, Canadian Red Cross, West Prince Caring Cupboard and others.

Mr Peters said both clubs want to do additional community service work, but that requires the clubs having the members to do so.

“Being involved with the Lions Club gets you involved with your community,” said Mr Peters.

With 24 years under her belt, Nola Shaw began her association with the O’Leary Lions Club by first joining the Lioness Club, a group facilitated with the Lions.

Ms Shaw was one of the first women to join the Lions Club when women were allowed to become members in 1999.

“For me, it was to get more involved and to do things for the community without asking for anything in return,” said Ms Shaw. “It was just something I wanted to give for myself. Plus, to meet new people.”

Ms Shaw said her time with the Lions Club has been a wonderful experience.

The clubs are hoping to get a younger generation involved with the organization to help keep them going in their communities and to bring new ideas to the club.

But awareness seems to be the biggest hurdle that faces the clubs.

“Some people don’t even know that we still have an O’Leary Lions Club,” said Ms Shaw.

The O’Leary club continues to hold their twice monthly meetings at the North Street building they once owned before Community Inclusions Ltd. took over ownership in 2011, renovating the building to create administrative offices and independent living apartments.

In 1989, Alberton Lions Club built their own club, which is now owned and operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association, but they too continue to hold meetings at the Main Street location twice a month.

“A lot of people think we’re gone,” said Ms Shaw.

“The same with us,” said Herb Meggison with the Alberton Lions Club.

That’s why current members feel having younger people in their clubs could be helpful because they would be able to raise awareness about the clubs by using such tools as social media.

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