Aug
27

Lions and LCIF Responded To Hurricane Harvey

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My Dear Lions,

On Friday, August 25th, Hurricane Harvey made its way ashore on the central Gulf Coast of Texas with winds of 125 miles per hour. As I draft this letter, the central coast of Texas, including metropolitan Houston, is still being affected by unprecedented amounts of rain fall and potentially devastating flooding.  The nearly 17 million residents in the path of the storm will be dealing with the aftermath for weeks and possibly months to come.

Lions Clubs International, through our Foundation (LCIF), has responded with emergency catastrophe grant in the amount of US$100,000. The grant will allow Lions in the area of impact to provide life-saving supplies of food, water, blankets and other necessities. 

We never know when or where disaster will strike. But when it does, LCIF emergency and major catastrophe grants enable local Lions to respond, making an immediate impact in the hardest hit areas – around the world.

Your donation to LCIF makes it possible for us to respond at a moment’s notice to this and other disasters as they strike. Lions members are the most generous people in the world.  Please consider a donation to LCIF to assist Lions in short-term and long-term disaster response.

Donate to LCIF

I know you join me in keeping the victims of this latest natural disaster in your thoughts and prayers.  Together we make a significant difference.

Namaste,

 

Dr. Naresh Aggarwal

Aug
23

Touchstone Story #60–First Response

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Disasters occur with frightening regularity. There are earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and more.

On April 25, 2015, at 11:56 a.m. local time in Nepal, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake devastated parts of urban Bharatpur and Kathmandu and flattened entire villages elsewhere in the country. It also caused an avalanche on Mount Everest. More than 9,000 people were killed as a result of the quake and its aftershocks, with 21,000 injured and more than US$5 billion in property damage. It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal in nearly a century.

Within hours, as the local and international response was still forming and before the aftershocks had even happened, Lions Clubs International Foundation had issued a US$100,000 Major Catastrophe Grant and mobilized $4 million of contributions. At the same time, clubs around the world were preparing to send emergency medical supplies, food, fresh water, purifiers and temporary shelters to Nepal.

Three weeks after the quake, 2015-16 LCIF Chairperson Joe Preston wrote: “Mount Everest is only a few hundred kilometers north of Kathmandu. In 1924, the British Empire sent their renowned explorer, George Mallory, to make the first serious attempt to conquer the world’s tallest peak. When asked why he would make such a massive effort to climb the mountain, Mr. Mallory replied, “Because it’s there.”

Our task is very similar. Why should we make such a massive effort to help the survivors? Because they are there. Because they are still alive.

The Lions’ first response effort to help survivors in disasters such as in Nepal is fast. In 1950, Lions of Lima, Peru, were visiting Cusco when a magnitude 6 earthquake shook the city and destroyed homes. The Lima Lions immediately organized a relief operation on behalf of their Cusco brethren. In 1963, when a cyclone struck Pakistan and killed more than 10,000 people, local Lions established relief camps at nearby high schools and, in the months that followed, rebuilt devastated areas. In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, the Oklahoma City Helping Hands Lions Club immediately began to help those affected by the attacks.

Today, Lions continue to be on call when disaster strikes. The Lions ALERT Program is a plan of action to guide local Lions clubs in their response to events—those that affect a few people, and those that affect thousands. From maintaining local volunteer databases to offering training classes on emergency evacuation routes, the ALERT Program provides a road map for unforeseen situations.

Marilyn Gotcher, president of the Oklahoma City Helping Hands Lions Club in 1995, summed up how the Lions continue to view these tragedies: “Out of pain, suffering and sorrow, so much goodness can come.”

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!

Aug
18

Message from IP Aggarwal: Lions Stand Against Hate

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My Dear Lions,

Like me, I’m sure you have followed the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia and Barcelona, Spain. Acts of terror, and loss of innocent lives must never become the norm.

Lions International and its over 1.4 million members around the world stand for peace, unity, and service to others. For over 100 years we have upheld the principle that people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, religions and ideologies can work together to make a positive difference.

We are the example that where there is peace, there can be no hatred. Where there is love, there can be no hatred. Where there is understanding, there can be no hatred. And when there is no hatred, it is a better world for all.

We stand together as one against hate, bigotry and violence in all its forms.

And we pray for the victims of the recent attacks in Barcelona, Spain and Charlottesville, Virginia. May peace and love prevail.

Namaste,

Dr. Naresh Aggarwal

International President

Lions volunteering
Aug
18

LCIF Awards Disaster Grants, July 2017

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Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) offers a variety of funding options to support various stages for disaster relief operations, including Disaster Preparedness, Emergency, Community Recovery and Major Catastrophe Grants.

For districts impacted by a natural disaster including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis, Emergency Grants provide up to US$10,000. Lions district governors may apply for disaster relief funds to help meet immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies. LCIF typically awards more than US$2 million in Emergency Grant funding each year. Community Recovery Grants aid districts interested in supporting short-term cleanup and repair efforts in situations where other organizations have already addressed immediate needs. Lions district governors may submit proposals for community recovery grants.

In July 2017, LCIF awarded 20 Emergency Grants and 1 Community Recovery Grant totaling US$170,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

New York, USA, District 20-Y2
US$10,000 for flood relief

The Republic of Bangladesh, District 315-B1
US$5,000 for flood relief

The Republic of Bangladesh, District 315-A2
US$5,000 for flood relief

Wisconsin, USA, District 27-A1
US$10,000 for flood relief

Illinois, USA, District 1-F
US$10,000 for flood relief

The Philippines, District 301-B2
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

The Republic of Korea, District 356-D
US$10,000 for flood relief

Brazil, District LD-7
US$20,000 for hailstorm relief – home repairs

Indonesia, District 307-A1
US$10,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-D
US$10,000 for flood relief

California, USA, District 4-A1
US$10,000 for fire relief

Illinois, USA, District 1-D
US$10,000 for flood relief

Wisconsin, USA, District 27-E2
US$10,000 for flood relief

India, District 3232-B
US$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-C1
US$5,000 for flood relief

Mexico, District B-2
US$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-C2
US$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-C4
US$5,000 for flood relief

The Republic of Bangladesh, District 315-B2
US$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 322-C3
US$5,000 for flood relief

India, District 3232-J
US$5,000 for flood relief

 

Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster fund today.

Donate to LCIF

Aug
16

Touchstone Story #81–Digital Connections

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During Lions Clubs International’s 50th anniversary celebration in 1967, an article appeared in the LION Magazine predicting how technology would change the way people communicate by the Lions’ 100th anniversary. Sharing news would be instantaneous. “Walking along the streets of Chicago, you’ll be able to talk to a friend in Hong Kong and see him in full color at the same time,” the article said. The author was right. In the 21st century, staying connected with Lions around the globe has never been easier.

Through Lions’ digital channels and social media, members can gather ideas, express their Lions pride, exchange tips and share the results of projects and events immediately. With more than 1.35 million members across 210 countries and geographic areas, Lions Clubs International is truly a global network of service and friendship.

“We do live in a world community,” Past International President Jim Ervin said. “We share together, we learn together and we help each other together.”

Staying connected has always been key to the health of Lions Clubs. It is why, early in Lions’ history, the organization established a “News from the Clubs” section in the LION Magazine, hosted conventions and maintained extensive written correspondence.

Today, communication between Lions is just as likely to occur on Facebook or Twitter as by email, phone or newsletter. Minute after minute, Lions somewhere in the world are sharing snapshots of their work—a vision screening, a blood drive, cleaning up trash, planting a tree, hosting a fundraiser.

In Indonesia and Hong Kong, Lions use the free mobile messaging app WhatsApp to communicate the latest Lions news and to call meetings. On the Channel Island of Jersey in the United Kingdom, Lions share their latest fundraising news on Twitter: “Jersey #LionsClub Swimarathon raises more than £133,000 for local charities.”

Conventions, newsletters and traditional forms of communication aren’t going away. But increased digital communication means that Lions can connect quicker than ever. For example, when the Barasoain Host Lions Club in the Philippines donated eyeglasses to students in March 2015, the club posted a photo of their project on the Lions Facebook page. Instantly, Lions worldwide could see the project and share the news with others. Hundreds of followers expressed their enthusiasm for the project, encouraging the club to keep up the good work.

As the world gets smaller, Lions are making sure members know how to stay connected. Lions Clubs offer workshops on how to effectively use technology to engage with club members and the local community. In 2012, Lions in Europe began Social Media in Lions Europe (SMiLE) seminars on the best practices of social media. The program quickly spread to the entire Lions organization and continues to educate members.

No one knows what technology will develop during Lions’ next 100 years to help members better connect with each other. Social media may soon be a relic of the centennial celebration era. But whatever the method, robust communication among members will remain a hallmark of Lions Clubs International.

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. They’re a great resource for promoting service at your club meetings!

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