Not-For-Profit Spotlight: The Lions Club

Lynsey Kitching

The Lions Club does a whole lot more for this community than just flippin’ burgers and dogs for community events on the barbecue; even though that’s awesome.

“If you see that big blue barbecue, you know the Lions are there,” says Frank Walsh, Local Club President.

The Lions Club here in town started in 1984 and their focus is on support to those organizations which offer aid to the needy in our community, our country and the world. Globally, considered the largest service organization worldwide, the Lions Club has about 1.4 million members and is active in 197 countries and geographical areas.

Walsh has been president of the club here in town since as he says with a laugh, “The beginning of time when the dinosaurs roamed.”

More accurately he has been president for 12 years. What a wonderful way to give back.

He explains how the club has changed with the dynamics of Tumbler. He says, “The Lions Club of Tumbler Ridge has seen many changes in the past few years. During our heyday, we were able to build and maintain Lions Flatbed Campground; but as our population dwindled, so did our membership until we were no longer able to properly maintain the facility, and it was turned over to the District. Although the campground was no longer ours, it still bore our name and stood as a tribute to the dedicated efforts of our club. As of 2011, our club is once again operating the campground. It has been extremely busy.”

“Our motto is ‘we serve’. We serve our community, our country and the world by helping those in need. This need could be food, shelter, medical assistance…or it may be hurricane relief as was the case in Louisiana, or tsumani relief as in Thailand and Sri Lanka. Wherever is a need, there are Lions to answer the call,” explains Walsh.

Walsh outlines a few of the other things they contribute to the community. He explains, “Our club supports drug awareness and self esteem programs for youth; diabetes education and research; blindness prevention and used eyeglass recycling; community reading programs; the Easter Seal Houses; camps for challenged kids; the Dawson Creek Child Development Centre; and many other programs aimed at serving the needs of our community. We also give monetary assistance to needy children and adults in our community for medical and other reasons.”

The list of activities and ways the Lions Club contributes to the community is endless and in order to do this, they need to raise money themselves through fundraisers. Examples of this are the bingos they run every week, which allows them to donate to groups like Scouts and Guides; TR Citizens on Patrol; the South Peace Child Development Centre; and Camp He Ho Ha.

Walsh says the bingos probably bring in about $17,000 annually and it all goes back out to help others.

Some of the groups on-going projects include the community Bingo (Every Monday night at the Community Centre); running the concession stand at the community centre; the Texas Hold’ Em tournament; the Easter egg hunt (which is coming up); the Daffodil Campaign (to raise money for Cancer research); the Big Bike Ride for the Heart and Stroke Foundation; the Christmas Hamper Raffle (proceeds going to the Food bank); the annual Grizfest pancake breakfast; the Grizfest concession; cooking dogs and hamburgers for the Emperor’s Challenge and the annual Tumbler Ridge Dino Days pancake breakfast; the Children’s Summer Reading program and much more!

What a busy group of helpful people.

Upcoming new endeavours of the group include sponsoring the Children’s LEGO club at the Library.

Also, the children’s playground at Lions campground is getting a face lift! Walsh says, “A lot of the equipment has seen better days. Some of it is not allowed to be there anymore. They have a lot of wooden structures down there that are made with treated wood. That now is a no no because of the deadly chemicals that are in the wood treatment. We are going to be fixing that up.”

The group meets on the first Thursday of each month at seven p.m. in room four of the Community Centre.

The club currently has 35 members and is always looking for more. Walsh says, “It’s a lot easier to lose members than it is to get them back, but we are doing well.”

There is a $25 annual membership fee to join.

If you would like more information or are wishing to join in, call Frank or Grace Walsh at 250-242-4609.