What is the group known as Lions?

Lions Club International is the world’s largest organization of service clubs, with more than 1.35 million members in 46,000 clubs across more than 200 countries. Formed in 1917, Lions have the motto “We Serve” and are best known for fighting blindness and enhancing vision. What may not be as well known is that we also feed the hungry, aid seniors and the disabled and care for the environment. Each Lions Club is composed of men and women who volunteer to make a difference in the communities where they live.

About the Ashland Lions:

The Ashland Lions Club was founded in 1938 and has been serving Ashland and the Rogue Valley ever since. We raise money to fund our support of the Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Foundation in Portland and the Southern Oregon Lions Sight & Hearing Center in Medford. But our fundraising, as an example, also supports Ashland Community Hospital Foundation, scholarships for Ashland High School graduates, Dogs for the Deaf, Habitat for Humanity, Ashland Parks Foundation and more.

Though we are perhaps best known for our Feast of Will and chicken barbecue and our Fourth of July root beer floats, we also sell ice cream at summer City Band concerts with all proceeds dedicated to band programs at Ashland’s middle and high schools. Over the period of 2008-18 we donated $28,265 in support of the bands.

One hundred percent of the profits from our fundraisers go to the projects and activities we support.

In addition to fundraising and project financing, the Lions do many service projects in the community, such as assisting with vision screening in Ashland grade schools, rebuilding picnic tables and benches in Lithia Park, building handicapped ramps, assisting the Boy Scouts with their annual Christmas tree recycling program and Ashland parks cleanup.

As an example of “We Serve,” the Lions just finished building a handicapped ramp for an Ashland family. The Lions provided all of the labor, saving the family significant expense.

Thanks to the community!

Christmas tree recycling is conducted every January in conjunction with the Boy Scouts Troup 112. Lions support the Scouts by providing manpower and vehicles. The city provides a chipper that converts the trees into landscaping material. The material is used for trail coverage and general landscaping in Lithia Park. Lions volunteers and city employees spread the bark where needed.

All donations received go to the Scout Troop 112. Donations go towards 50 percent of summer cap costs for the Scouts working on the tree recycling project. If additional funds remain, each Scout involved in the recycle project will have some funds set aside for their “high adventure” trip. The 2017 trip was to Philmont Scout Ranch in Philmont, New Mexico. Funds earned each year can be accrued over time to be used on a future trip.

The Ashland Lions Club sincerely thanks residents for supporting the Scouts in the recycling program.

Who are Ashland Lions?

The Ashland Lions are men and women of all ages. Each of us brings our own knowledge, skills and abilities and gives the time we can afford to Lions projects. Why do we do it? We want to make a difference but we also have a lot of fun and make friends within the club and among the people we meet as part of what we do.

You can be a Lion!

Would you like to make a difference and be a helping neighbor in our community? Become a Lion! Call the Ashland Lions Club at 541-324-1515. You are welcome to join us at our regular meeting on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, 6 p.m. at La Casa Del Pueblo, 1209 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

— Ashland Lions column appears quarterly.