What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the work of Lions Clubs here in South Carolina? If you’re like most people, it’s those people in gold vests selling candy or brooms out in their community. But, have you wondered how the 151 Lions Clubs in our state spend the money raised through these events?
South Carolina Lions embody their motto of “WE SERVE” by reaching out and providing millions of dollars annually in services to those in need in our state. For starters, in their most recent fiscal year (7/1/13 – 6/30/14) local Lions Clubs provided 15,610 pairs of eyeglasses to individuals who didn’t have the resources to otherwise purchase them.
They also provided 95 eye surgeries ranging from cataracts to detached retinas and beyond; they were able to assist with providing 99 hearing aids for individuals on fixed or limited incomes; and they provided 8,337 free health screenings to local schools, businesses, community and civic groups. All together, last year they helped save the SC Healthcare System over $1.4 million dollars in healthcare costs.
Even with all those successes, there are still people on waiting lists for these services.
Why do Lions focus on vision and hearing? In 1925, Helen Keller, world renown advocate for individuals with vision and hearing disabilities addressed the Lions Club International Convention and challenged them to be “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” Since that time, Lions have gone on to become the world’s largest service organization, with 1.36 million members in 209 countries around the world, including over 4,000 members here in South Carolina. Two of their focuses have remained vision and hearing, even to this day, giving the gift of sight and hearing to those in need.
How can you help? The next time you see a local Lions Club conducting a fundraiser, make a contribution, no matter how small. Through their ability to negotiate reduced rates for services, they are able to leverage, for every $1.00 donated, an additional $5.00 more in services. 100% of that funding stays here in South Carolina, serving the people of our state. You can also visit www.sclions.org and click on the DONATE button to make a secure on-line contribution. Finally, you can send your tax-deductible contribution to the SC Lions Foundation, 234 Outlet Pointe Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29210.
As all Lions know, they are Loving Individuals providing Others with Needed Services. Got a little LION in you?