Today’s guest post was written by Lion Melodie M. Davis of the Broadway Lions Club in Virginia, USA. “What Says Fall to You?” appeared on her blog, Finding Harmony. For more information about Pancake Days and more pictures from this event, you can follow the Broadway Lions on Facebook.
For the past 15 years or so, we have enjoyed a community tradition here in the Shenandoah Valley: cooking for the annual Lion’s Club Pancake Days in Broadway, VA. The tradition goes from 6 a.m. on Friday morning, serving all day through about 7 p.m. that evening, and from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturdays.
The best part about Pancake Days is actually cooking and serving the meal. (Now the getting ready/cleaning up part is a huge chore but part of the deal.) This year I finally joined the Lions Club with my husband. So, although I’ve helped in various capacities as a spouse, this year I heard all the pre-planning and negotiation such an effort takes.
Usually the Pancake Days are the same weekend as the local high school’s homecoming game, but due to that being scheduled very early and conflicting with an important Lions Club district/training meeting. We would have to break with tradition and have the fundraiser a different weekend, so we chose one that tied in to the annual Fall Festival–a street craft show and sale event.
Would it be as successful? Would we miss the great influx of pancake eaters right after the town’s homecoming parade?
Answer: We ran out of sausage by 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, so we had to close an hour early. It was probably the most successful sale ever. To all those who missed out, we are very sorry about that, and will try to plan for it not to happen next year! The sausage of course is the most expensive part of the meal. The sausage gravy is homemade. While some of the food supplies are donated by local businesses, we purchase others. The proceeds from the sale go to help with the sight and hearing projects typical of Lions Clubs locally, nationally and internationally.
But the best part of Pancake Days is not the cakes, sausage, gravy or coffee, but the camaraderie: learning to know club and community members in deeper ways than you can do by just going to meetings. Service projects—whether they are for church, school or club—are the best way to connect and find roots when moving to a new community or seeking new friendships.
The Broadway Lions Pancake Days even survived changing one huge part of the tradition by transitioning from holding the cook-off in a makeshift tent made of tarps for many years. Everyone always said that was part of the fun—and what made the food taste so darn good, like when you are camping. The “tent” was pitched behind a bank in downtown, making it super easy for folks to stop by for a good hot meal after a chilly homecoming parade—before they rushed off to the big game. Those were great days too, but no one seems to mind that we’re now serving in the nearby Fire Department community hall. We’ve maintained one part of the tradition by cooking the cakes on a great old gas griddle in a tarped “kitchen.”
Thanks to some good signage around town and a nice article in the local paper, the sale this year was a huge roaring Lion success. We thank everyone who came out and if you are lucky enough to have a Lion Pancake fundraiser in your community, check it out!
“At Bausch + Lomb, our mission is to help people see better, to live better. When we look back at this first year, all that we’ve learned and all that we’ve accomplished—we’re confident that together with Lions Clubs and LCIF, our efforts will help eye care institutions positively impact children, parents and the communities they serve,” said Rick Heinick, Corporate Vice President, Global Human Resources and Transformation at Bausch + Lomb.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of babies around the world are born with a cataract in one or both eyes. This condition is known as pediatric cataract, and can lead to severe vision loss—or even blindness. But not only is pediatric cataract treatable, it is often preventable. Bausch + Lomb and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) are partnering on the Pediatric Cataract Initiative to identify, fund and promote innovative methods of overcoming pediatric cataract for the long-term benefit of children, their families and their communities.
Launched in June 2010, the Pediatric Cataract Initiative (PCI) is the first dedicated global effort aimed at preventing and treating cataract in children. Bausch + Lomb has awarded LCIF with a US$350,000 grant to launch this partnership program. The pilot year’s capacity-building grant will select a partner institution in China, where at least 40,000 children are estimated to suffer from pediatric cataract. When babies and children are identified and successfully treated with the proper follow-up care, many, if not all, will grow into fully sighted adults requiring minimal additional vision correction.
PCI is also funding basic research initiatives aimed at better understanding the causes of pediatric cataract and/or its treatment. The first two research grants of US$50,000 each are focusing on this issue in Nepal (and nearby states in India) and Nigeria. An estimated 1.4 million children are blind worldwide, 1 million of whom live in Asia and 300,000 in Africa. The prevalence of pediatric cataract in developing countries can be 10 times more common than in developed nations.
After a busy pilot year, LCIF and Bausch + Lomb will be helping people see, by continuing the important work of the Pediatric Cataract Initiative into 2012.
From LCIF: Our Impact Story Archives
With October being “Sharing the Vision” month, the Keelung Hsin I Lions Club of District 300-F in Taiwan organized a vision screening project for children. Vision is an important part for growth and development. Having vision problems can hinder a child’s ability to perform well in school. The Sharing the Vision Campaign, part of the Centennial Service Challenge, aims to serve 25 million people through vision projects –with a special goal of benefitting 10 million children with eye care.Lions can work towards the CSC goal of serving 100 million by 2017 through youth, vision, hunger and environmental projects. Clubs are asked to report their activities on MyLCI. We also want to encourage Lions to share pictures from their projects on Facebook and other social media sites. Use the hashtag #LIONS100 so that other Lions can see how your club is making an impact.
How are your projects helping children in need?
If you could save a child’s sight with the press of a button, wouldn’t you?
That’s the idea behind Lions KidSight USA, a new national initiative announced by Lions in the United States. Lions KidSight USA was launched to help ensure that children between the ages of six months and six years receive vision screening and professional follow-up care when needed.
To accomplish this, KidSight USA will work with new and existing screening programs to get more handheld screening devices into the hands of Lions—and more kids in front of them.
“KidSight USA is an important national initiative that will help families protect the eye health of their children,” said International President Joe Preston. “It builds on our proud history of saving sight and our belief that all children deserve to see the world clearly. With the help of Lions, we hope they will.”
Lions KidSight USA wants to reach kids early because some vision problems can become permanent by age seven. But vision issues can be easily detected with hand-held screening devices that even generate the results on-site. With only a few minutes of training, Lions and volunteers can learn to screen the vision of a child.Lions in the U.S. currently screen more than 500,000 kids per year through state and local programs often known as “KidSight.” Lions KidSight USA wants to expand the number of screening programs so Lions can change the lives of even more children around the country.
Before we left Iceland, we had the great honor of meeting with President Ólafur Grímsson of Iceland at his official residence, Bessastadir. The president greeted Joni and me and the leaders of Lions in Iceland and then we sat down to discuss how Lions have been—and will continue to contribute to—making a difference in their community.
President Grímsson commended Lions for strengthening the commitment to voluntary work and cooperation in his country. He remembered how Lions were organized in Iceland in 1951, at a period when there were a number of divisive issues in the country. He said that Lions reached out to people in different communities, with different perspectives and from opposing camps and helped to bring them all together.
He also recognized Lions for their support of the University Hospital and for the other important Lions projects, many of which we visited.
We spent a productive hour talking with President Grímsson about Lions activities around the world, needs for community support in Iceland and the importance of volunteers everywhere.
Thank you to the Lions of Iceland for arranging the visit, for organizing Lions World Sight Day and for their many projects that we visited that contribute to improving the life of everyone.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook to see more activities, projects and pictures from my trips around the world.
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