Have you ever run into Sobeys for a few things and noticed someone selling something just outside the doors?
Most recently the Winnipeg Blue Bomber’s cheer team was selling calendars. Earlier this summer you might have noticed John Fritschij sitting at a table, offering tickets in support of the Lions Club of East St. Paul. John is a long-standing and passionate Lion who spends countless days selling tickets and promoting the good works of the club.
I sat down with a group (pride?) of Lions recently to discuss their club and was astounded by just what they do and how far-reaching their level of service is. I asked what they had done specifically for East St. Paul residents and learned that they contributed to our skate park and that they provided an insulin pump for a local woman. Most recently they helped a young man with expenses so he could have life-saving surgery out of province. Now that’s impressive!
Approximately 10% of money raised in any year goes to charities supported by the Lions Club of Canada, but the majority of funds regularly support charities in our province. Those charities include the HSC Foundation, Cancer Care Manitoba along with related charities such as Children’s Wish and the Rainbow Society.
The Lions also support those less fortunate through Winnipeg Harvest and Siloam Mission and are actively involved with organizations connected with eye disease such as the CNIB and the Western Blind Curling Association. In addition, they support Camp Manitou, the Children’s Museum and manage two scholarships that are awarded at River East Collegiate annually. They even sent aid to victims of the Haitian earthquakes and the Japanese tsumani.
This dedicated group of 37 (including the first female Lion in East St. Paul, Carrie Chick), raise the money they need to do their good deeds via their past president’s dinner, the Show and Shine Car Show, a memorial curling bonspiel, Christmas tree sales at Sobey’s and golf tournaments, the most recent of which raised $4,000 for the Canadian Deaf Blind Association. In the last 15 years, the organization has distributed in excess of $275,000 to charity.
The Lions’ motto is "We Serve." It seems rather humble after reviewing the list of those who have benefitted from our local Lions club.
For more information, visit www.eaststpaul.com/otherclubs.php. And please stop by and see John in November when he will be back at Sobey’s selling Grey Cup raffle tickets.
Cher Hebert is a community correspondent for East St. Paul. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.